Stories
Howell Road garage student block illustrative elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Howell Road garage for sale a week after student block redevelopment plans granted at appeal

Developer denied he would 'spin in and spin out and take my profit' at planning committee that approved 'backstop' plans for nine flats on site, saying student block was 'what we want to build'.

Exeter Digest #52: Active travel test - Howell Road PBSA - Crankhouse Coffee scheme

Upcoming community and culture highlights include four festivals and a book market plus an invitation to hear more about our plans to expand our team.

Howell Road garage

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

26-bed Howell Road garage site student accommodation block allowed at appeal

St James Neighbourhood Plan community balance aims discounted and council policy and evidence deemed insufficient in inspector's decision to overturn planning committee refusal.

SATURDAY 8 & SUNDAY 9 JUNE 2024

Heritage Harbour Festival 2024

The maritime-themed festival returns for a second year with tours, boat trips, films, workshops, music and more.

EXETER QUAY

Exeter Academy English language school in Sylvan Road, Pennsylvania

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Plan to convert language school to nursery to test credibility of city council active travel policy

Exeter Academy sits near top of steep hill 250 feet above city, far from accessible bus and rail routes, but developer claims local plan compliance in 'demonstrably sustainable location' which is 'conducive to sustainable modes of travel'.

Corner of Fore Street and West Street with St Mary Steps church in the background

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developers claim council planning committee refusal was 'if not malevolent, certainly misguided'

Appeal against decision to deny fifth additional storey in build-to-rent scheme above Crankhouse Coffee accuses councillors of seeking to 'appease the weight of objectors' orchestrated opinion' against amendments to eleven year-old consent.

SUNDAY 9 JUNE 2024

The Book Market 2024

Exeter City of Literature event features independent booksellers from across the county plus literary activities, food and drink and more.

CATHEDRAL GREEN

SATURDAY 8 & SUNDAY 9 JUNE 2024

Exeter Respect Festival 2024

The annual celebration of Exeter diversity returns for its 27th year with live music and performance, food stalls, community and campaign groups.

BELMONT PARK

FRIDAY 7 & SATURDAY 8 JUNE 2024

Exeter Comedy Festival

Locally Sourced presents a two-day festival featuring Mike Wozniak, Josie Long, John Hegley and many more.

EXETER CITY CENTRE

Exeter Digest #51: 2024 elections results special

Full results in detail plus in-depth analysis as Labour support falls 6% and the party loses vote share in all but one ward, bucking the national trend.

Exeter City Council ballot share by ward 2016 to 2024 line graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter bucks national trend as Labour support falls 6% and party loses vote share in all but one ward

Independent group, Greens and LibDems all take seats and Conservatives increase share in four wards as Labour stays in control of council after close call in Mincinglake & Whipton, holds in key battlegrounds and third Topsham win.

, updated

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results party seat distribution

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results

The votes cast for each candidate with vote share and vote share change by party in each ward, plus turnout and the distribution of seats.

, updated

Exeter Digest #50: 2024 local elections special

This year's ballot promises to be the most unpredictable contest in years. Our comprehensive elections guide has got you covered and our briefing has all the how-to-vote details you need.

2024 Exeter local elections guide graphic showing current council seat distribution

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2024 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Our comprehensive guide covers who's standing where, wards to watch and the backdrop to this year's ballot, which promises to be the most unpredictable contest in years.

Exeter Digest #49: Exeter Community Lottery - Top-down devolution - Food waste funding

Exeter Observer celebrates five years of local public interest news publishing with the launch of our Spring 2024 community share offer, plus community and culture highlights including Poltimore Festival and our 2024 local elections briefing.

Exeter Labour 2024 campaign leaflet

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Council raids community fund for £6 million to pay for eight year-old food waste collection promise

Emergency decision to finance materials reclamation facility investment taken less than a week before 2024 local elections campaign officially began.

SATURDAY 25 & SUNDAY 26 MAY 2024

Poltimore Festival 2024

A two-day outdoor festival featuring live music, workshops, food stalls, secret cinema and a craft market.

POLTIMORE HOUSE

Spring 2024 community share offer

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer celebrates five years of local public interest news publishing

Invest in our Spring 2024 community share offer to help us deliver all the independent journalism Exeter needs and make it five more.

Exeter Community Lottery homepage

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Australian multinational is biggest council lottery winner as 92% of local causes receive less than £500

Operator collects £26,000 and city council £16,000 in first nine months as public support for Exeter voluntary and community organisations turned into private profit.

Devon County Council Devon and Torbay devolution deal consultation results bar chart

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

County council to impose new local government tier despite majority opposition to devolution deal

Emptiness of claims that new combined authority will be accountable reflected in failure to respect consultation results as all eight Devon district councils decry prospective democratic deficit.

THURSDAY 9 MAY 2024

Compline - Ascension Day celebration

Performances of plainchant and polyphony with prayers at St Olave's Church.

ST OLAVE'S CHURCH

Electoral Commission voting options graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

When, where and how to vote in the 2024 Exeter local elections

Our guide to casting your ballot in person, by post and by proxy as well as voter ID requirements and new regulations for postal votes.

Exeter Digest #48: Auditor broadens inquiry - Victoria Street co-living - SEND deficit deal

As the 2024 local election campaigns get under way we invite readers to help us hold Exeter's politicians to account, plus community and culture highlights including Italian Liberation Day, Bloom Festival and Pint of Science.

Auditor value for money arrangements recommendations summary chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Auditor broadens inquiry to include Exeter City Futures and ex-CEO secondment to liquidated company

More 'significant weaknesses' found in city council governance and financial and performance management arrangements while St Sidwell's Point valued at £7 million less than build cost and £370,000 ex-CEO final year pay and benefits confirmed.

MONDAY 13 TO WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 2024

Pint of Science

Three day festival presents talks by Exeter research scientists in three city centre pubs.

EXETER CITY CENTRE

SUNDAY 12 MAY 2024

Bloom Festival 2024

Mental health and wellbeing event returns with a day of workshops, talks, poetry and performances.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter local elections campaign materials

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Help hold Exeter's politicians to account during the 2024 local elections

Send us any campaign materials you receive so we can factcheck claims and keep tabs on pledges after the votes have been counted.

SATURDAY 11 MAY 2024

Exeter Pride 2024

Exeter Pride returns for a celebration of LGBTQIA+ diversity with a parade, marketplace, music, cabaret and more.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

SUNDAY 21 APRIL 2024

Italian Liberation Day festival

Italian Cultural Association Exeter hosts a day of music, dance, poetry, singing and Italian food.

THE HALL

Devon County Council SEND spending 2019-20 to 2024-25 bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

SEND deficit deal demands £50m budget cuts, £13m asset sales and use of £20m financial reserves

Department for Education to contribute £95 million over nine years, but terms of deal require Devon County Council to break even on SEND within two years despite five years of multi-million pound overspends.

FRIDAY 5 APRIL 2024

Exeter's Roman fortress

RAMM hosts the launch of a new book by a local archaeologist about the discovery of Exeter's Roman fortress.

RAMM

Exeter Digest #47: Devon devolution - Station access - Wonford hub - Bus corridors

Upcoming community and culture highlights include Library Lates, City Slam and Kidical Mass.

Devon & Torbay Combined County Authority governance structure diagram

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Devon devolution deal to create unaccountable local government layer for paltry £16 million payoff

Democratic deficit to increase as city and district councils lose control over housing and prosperity funding and transport policy powers moved out of reach, while county council plans to approve deal irrespective of public consultation outcome.

SATURDAY 20 APRIL 2024

Kidical Mass returns for 2024

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its seventh family bike ride as part of a month of global action to promote safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

SOUTHERNHAY

SUNDAY 14 APRIL 2024

City Slam

Exeter City of Literature, Taking the Mic and Spork! co-host a spoken-word poetry competition.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter St Thomas station

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Access for all? Mobility-impaired passengers still cannot catch their train from some Exeter stations

National railway accessibility policies fail to deliver local transport network access as Exeter St Thomas station improvement funding bid decision awaited.

Wonford Community Wellbeing Hub option seven plan crop

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

£1+ million for Wonford community hub project development but £7 million build finance not yet found

City council presented £750,000 'feasibility proposal' as progression of existing plans despite having to start again after three years to cut costs, with Exeter City Living awarded £550,000 project contract.

Proposed Heavitree Road bus lane bus priority signals

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bus corridor consultation presents more incremental changes to Exeter road network

£2.4 million Heavitree and Pinhoe Road 'upgrades' have 'potential for an approximate four-minute journey time saving' at peak times along length of each corridor.

Exeter Digest #46: Southgate SoS - County council cuts - Stagecoach SW losses

Upcoming community and culture highlights include Topsham Music Festival and St Petrock's Big Night Out.

Southgate development site heritage map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Secretary of State overturns council decision to waive Southgate site Environmental Impact Assessment

Proposals for up to 200 flats in high-rise tower blocks have potentially significant impacts on Exe Estuary avian flightpaths, Exeter Cathedral skyline, listed buildings and ancient city walls placing protected landscapes and heritage assets at risk.

FRIDAY 12 APRIL 2024

St Petrock's Big Night Out

Exeter homelessness charity invites people to sleep out under the stars, or in another safe location, to help raise money for rough sleepers.

FRIDAY 5 TO SUNDAY 7 APRIL 2024

Topsham Music Festival

Three day event features instrumental music by upcoming professional solo and chamber ensemble artists.

TOPSHAM

Devon County Council 2023-24 vs 2024-25 service delivery budgets bar graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£50 million county council 2024-25 service delivery cuts concealed by £93 million costs increases

Figures essentially unaffected by budget scrutiny process during which councillors sought details of where and how cuts would fall but received few proper answers.

Stagecoach subsidiary operating companies 2022-23 pre-tax profits bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Stagecoach South West posts largest losses in sector despite greatest growth in journey numbers

Lowest year on year revenue rise compounded by above average staffing costs increase as £2 bus fare cap continues to prop up passenger demand.

SATURDAY 9 MARCH 2024

Brillsville Market returns

Community-run market launches 2024 season with goods from local producers, workshops and more.

ST THOMAS

Exeter Digest #45: Empty Gorge - Liveable Exeter charter - Spruce Close approval - King Billy redesign

Upcoming community and culture highlights include this year's International Women's Festival and the return of Library Lates.

Liveable Exeter Placemaking Charter cover image

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Liveable Exeter Placemaking Charter consultation skewed towards only one of five 'core tools'

Private developers' forum and other major components of new charter not mentioned in council communications, but transparency and new 'culture of openness' to 'help build trust in the planning system' emphasised throughout.

Empty studios at The Gorge

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

The Gorge stands 70% empty nearly six months after opening as mounting council tax liability looms

Council development director claims developer interest demonstrates need for co-living in Exeter but works have yet to start on all other such schemes.

SATURDAY 23 MARCH 2024

Library Lates returns

An evening of live music, creative workshops and games.

EXETER LIBRARY

Spruce Close & Celia Crescent development aerial view

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council approves plans for controversial greenfield site housing

Key details remain unresolved including future ownership and management of green space and public access restrictions during construction period.

Longbrook Street student accommodation block illustrative elevation

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Top to bottom King Billy student block redesign waved through as minor variation to consented plans

Council throws out Design Review Panel interventions and reneges on commitment to planning committee while developers claim unauthorised destruction of protected medieval wall justified on safety grounds.

SATURDAY 9 MARCH 2024

International Women's Festival 2024

A free one-day festival celebrating women with live music, workshops, panel discussions, art and more.

EXETER PHOENIX

WEDNESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2024

PRISM Exeter speakers series returns

LGBTQIA+ researchers share their experiences working in STEMM as part of this year's LGBT+ History Month.

EXETER LIBRARY

Exeter Digest #44: St Bridget Nurseries judicial review - Heavitree Road appeal - Allotment fees consultation

Upcoming community and culture highlights include a festival of children's stories at Emmanuel Hall and a short film festival at Exeter Phoenix.

St Bridget Nurseries illustrative layout

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Judge quashes planning permission for 350 homes at St Bridget Nurseries in Old Rydon Lane

High Court judgement finds city council did not properly discharge duties or take material considerations into account, council officer seriously misled planning committee and county council failed in statutory local highway authority role.

Illustrative elevation facing St Luke's campus

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Heavitree Road police station & magistrates court redevelopment appeal dismissed

Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and offshore development partner sent back to drawing board after attempt to overturn city council decision to refuse two huge student/co-living blocks fails.

Exeter City Council allotment fees increases 2016 to 2024 line graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council plans huge allotment fees increases to claw back cash from 1,500 city gardeners and growers

Plot holders provided with incomplete picture as consultation held which does not comply with council's own charter and delayed scrutiny report that omits key survey findings suggests council aims to turn profit from allotment provision.

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THURSDAY 8 & FRIDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2024

Two Short Nights

A short film festival showcasing local, national and international talent with a panel discussion, awards ceremony and more.

EXETER PHOENIX

WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY TO SATURDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2024

What If ...?

A festival of children's stories hosted by Theatre Alibi featuring performances and interactive workshops.

EMMANUEL HALL

SATURDAY 3 & SUNDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2024

Dogs Don't Do Ballet

A puppetry and music performance for children aged two and above.

EMMANUEL HALL

Exeter Digest #43: Electric vehicle charging strategy - Liveable Exeter garden city branding

Our first edition of 2024 also includes a selection of community and culture events.

FRIDAY 19 JANUARY 2024

The Sidwell Street wassail

An evening wassail with music, singing and free hot soup.

ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE

Devon electric vehicle charging strategy cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Devon County Council adopts charging strategy that provides for only 20% of EVs it expects by 2030

Local ULEV ownership has risen rapidly in recent years but many more vehicles have joined county's roads as local transport area ULEV growth lags behind rest of country and Exeter motor vehicle numbers alone top 87,000.

Land Trust garden community development of 3,000 homes at Beaulieu, near Chelmsford

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Liveable Exeter 'garden city' branding is about government funding, not green space

New Exeter Local Plan policy 'principles' have little in common with historic vision revitalised for 21st century by TCPA for government programme, while consented Haven Banks scheme and proposed new town near Exeter Airport have even less.

SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2024

Isca Ensemble chamber orchestral concert

An evening of Hadyn, Bach and Mozart with violin, viola and oboe soloists.

ST DAVID'S CHURCH

TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2024

George Oliver, forgotten Exeter humanitarian

A fundraising talk about the priest, historian and author who lived in the priory in the 19th century.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

TUESDAY 30 & WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2024

Igloo by Travelling Light

Interactive and non-verbal performances for children aged 0-3 years.

EMMANUEL HALL

Exeter Digest #42: Scrutiny Programme Board special report

Our year end edition also includes other local news that matters plus a selection of musical events for New Year's Eve and Twelfth Night.

Scrutiny Programme Board agenda extract 21 July 2022

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

City council scrutiny board enabling illicit obstruction of democracy

Essential safeguard against misuse of power misdirected by Executive members and senior officers while backbench councillors persistently denied rights to examine high-risk schemes and citywide climate crisis response.

3D view of revised development proposal

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Student landlord submits new plans for Union Road HMO back garden block following appeal failure

Application for six bedroom, single storey purpose built student accommodation block made on site of refused ten bedroom, two storey scheme in garden of thirteen bedroom shared student house.

Royal Devon and Exeter hospital at Wonford

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Junior doctors stage industrial action either side of Christmas in longest strike in NHS history

Latest round of strikes are eighth walkout by junior doctors in eighteen month national dispute over pay and employment conditions with government.

Peninsula Transport Strategy front cover

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Regional transport infrastructure strategy published for public consultation

Framework seeks to draw together major evidence base assembled over several years to address key challenges to 2050 including integration of walking and cycling with local bus and rail network and freight decarbonisation.

FRIDAY 5 & SATURDAY 6 JANUARY 2024

Twelfth Night candlelit concerts

Pianist Alex Wilson plays traditional music from across Europe at Christmastime.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

SUNDAY 31 DECEMBER 2023

Exeter Phoenix NYE

A silver, sparkly mirror ball-themed New Year's Eve celebration to welcome in 2024.

EXETER PHOENIX

Old bus and coach station demolition plan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Old Exeter bus and coach station to be demolished five and a half years after closure

Bristol-based Wring Group appointed as contractor by city council to demolish building to slab level but not to remove foundations, leaving rest of CityPoint site untouched.

Clarendon House student accommodation proposals illustrative view - front

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developers seek feedback on replacement of Clarendon House with student accommodation

350-bed block up to sixteen storeys tall proposed on site of underutilised offices on corner of Western Way and Heavitree Road.

SUNDAY 31 DECEMBER 2023

New Year's Eve concert

A celebration with flautist trio Flute Cake.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

Exeter Digest #41: Clifton Hill & Mary Arches discounts - King Billy upended - Bus service cuts - St Luke's redevelopment

Our top stories plus other news with curated cultural Christmas crackers including events at Exeter Custom House and the cathedral.

Clifton Hill redevelopment illustrative elevation

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Revised proposals to sell council land for co-living and high-spec housing discount site viability issues

Council leader's Clifton Hill and Mary Arches car park sale amendments agreed by Executive without discussing financial consequences, including multi-million pound value losses compelling sale of other assets to cover Exeter City Living debts.

FRIDAY 22 DECEMBER 2023

Viennese Christmas Spectacular

An evening of classical music by candlelight performed by chamber ensemble London Concertante.

EXETER CATHEDRAL

THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER 2023

Fore Street festive celebration

Independent traders host a late night shopping event including Sacred Grounds Winter Fayre and Bookbag's third birthday party.

FORE STREET

TUESDAY 5 TO SATURDAY 16 DECEMBER 2023

Christmas at the Custom House

A series of festive events including craft workshops, midwinter poetry and a performance by a local choir.

EXETER CUSTOM HOUSE

St Petrocks homelessness charity Christmas appeal 2023

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

St Petrock's Christmas appeal to raise funds to support its work with rough sleepers

Exeter homelessness charity's fundraising campaign features short film exploring how it feels to be homeless.

Exeter area bus services trends map

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter bus services cut by nearly 42% since 2010, largest fall in area

Many of worst-affected neighbourhoods in areas where major developments planned or being built, some in Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets trial area.

MONDAY 18 DECEMBER 2023

Spork! Christmas special returns

Spork! presents poetry, comedy and live music from Elvis McGonagall, Josie Alford and BopaRhys, with carols from the Exeter Railway Band.

EXETER PHOENIX

University of Exeter St Luke's campus boundary aerial view

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University seeks views on St Luke's campus redevelopment

Eleven acre teaching and research site between Heavitree Road and Magdalen Road to become 'health and wellbeing' campus and may include student accommodation.

SUNDAY 17 TO THURSDAY 28 DECEMBER 2023

Five Children & It

Quirk Theatre presents a festive family-friendly adventure about a magical creature that grants wishes.

EXETER PHOENIX

Clifton Hill sports centre development site

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Clifton Hill sports centre site - with adjacent green space - and Mary Arches car park set for sale for PBSA

Reversal of policy to prohibit Purpose Built Student Accommodation on city council land proposed to cover expected £9 million outstanding Exeter City Living debt, with £800,000 budget proposed for site disposal costs.

SATURDAY 2 & SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER 2023

A Tudor Christmas

A sixteenth century merchant's yule re-enacted in Exeter's oldest building.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

Exeter Digest #40: University social mobility rankings - Vacant and empty second homes

Our top stories plus other news with curated community events including St Thomas winter market and Sunday at Studio 36.

Sandy Park stadium

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

City council gives Exeter Chiefs permission to hold Sandy Park concerts with 15,500 attendees

Permanent consent for six weekend events between 1 May and 15 July each year with amplified music to 10.30pm follows four trial concerts with audiences of just 3,500.

Illustrative elevations facing Cowley Bridge Road

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council approves Cowley Bridge Road student blocks on former Johnsons site

350 bedspaces in four blocks up to six storeys tall to be built on windfall site left vacant after 2020 fire at former laundry and workwear factory.

SUNDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2023

Sunday at Studio 36

An open day at the Denmark Road arts space including live music, refreshments and arts and crafts for sale.

STUDIO 36

SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER 2023

An English History of Christmas

Joe Levy and Peter Adcock perform Christmas music from the medieval to the modern.

EMMANUEL HALL

University of Exeter social mobility awards graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter promotes social mobility 'silver awards' after being ranked 92nd in HEPI index

Higher Education Policy Institute social mobility ranking follows landmark study placing university 103rd in higher education social mobility league table, while South West young people are least likely to attend university in the country.

SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2023

St Thomas winter market

Community-run event returns with artisan traders, music, entertainment and workshops to create a family-friendly festival atmosphere.

ST THOMAS CHURCH

Exeter housing

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Exeter has 3,100 vacant and empty second homes, nearly 6% of city's housing stock

ONS also finds South West has 183,000 unoccupied dwellings with another 200,000 in use as second homes in the region, of which more than 4,000 are in Exeter, as statutory homelessness increases and rough sleeping doubles in city.

Exeter Digest #39: Maketank closure - LTN consultation restart - Seabrook Orchards

Our top stories plus local planning policy in focus and community events including The Big Exeter Feast and Reclaim the Night 2023.

JCDecaux illuminated street advertising screen

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Planning inspectors uphold decisions to refuse illuminated city centre advertising screens

Appeal dismissals conclude JCDecaux 'multifunction hubs' would materially harm character, appearance and visual amenity and have 'very limited' benefits in Sidwell Street, Paris Street and South Street with High Street hub decision to follow.

, updated

Seabrook Orchards phase three illustration

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Seabrook Orchards development plans submitted one house short of key planning condition threshold

Residents group says Bloor Homes application does not address pedestrian and cycle connectivity and is 'seeking to actively avoid delivery' of agreed transport infrastructure.

Maketank window display

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Maketank community arts centre closes after more than four years at the heart of Exeter cultural life

Crown Estate unwilling to renew lease after problems with roof preclude repairs in block scheduled for demolition as part of CityPoint redevelopment.

Heavitree & Whipton active streets trial scheme map

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets trial consultation to restart as taxi bus gate use introduced

More than 4,000 responses submitted in first eleven weeks with 1,650 people attending public exhibitions on scheme intended to reduce motor vehicle through traffic and increase walking and cycling.

3D view of proposed development

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Planning inspector upholds Union Road HMO back garden student block refusal

Appeal against city council decision dismissed as similar application by same student landlord in Pennsylvania Road HMO garden under consideration.

THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2023

Reclaim the Night 2023

A protest against sexual violence and harassment of women and girls in public space.

EXETER CITY CENTRE

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MONDAY 13 TO THURSDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2023

The Big Exeter Feast

A ten day programme of field trips, talks, workshops and a conference exploring how food can be accessible, affordable and sustainable in Exeter.

EXETER COMMUNITY CENTRE

TUESDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2023

PRISM Exeter speakers event

Academic researchers share their experiences as part of this year's LGBTQ+ STEM Day.

EXETER LIBRARY

New Exeter local plan graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council holds consultation on full draft of new Exeter Local Plan, set to guide development to 2040

Second major consultation begins as government introduces sweeping national planning system reforms including transfer of powers to Whitehall and changes to scope of local plans and local plan-making processes.

, updated

SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER 2023

Exeter Seed Bank seed packing

A pair of seed-packing workshops to prepare for distribution next spring.

EXETER PHOENIX

New Exeter Local Plan Water Lane site allocation map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Water Lane SPD consultation opens in parallel with local plan survey

Policy intends to provide development framework and design code for 90 acre site on which 1,600 new dwellings plus employment space expected by 2040.

, updated

Policy on extensions and building lines on corner plot sites - illustrative diagram

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council seeks comments on draft Householder's Guide to extensions and alterations

Policy covers size and position, materials, boundary relationships, loft conversions, dormers, solar panels and roof terraces, among other residential development design considerations.

, updated

Exeter Digest #38: Devon transport spending - Exeter employment rate - University fossil fuel financing

Our top stories plus local news that matters, planning updates and a bumper selection of curated community and culture events.

Devon County Council transport expenditure 2022-23 bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Motor vehicle infrastructure still dominates Devon transport spending despite climate claims

2022-23 roads spending remains unchanged at 87% of total as county council diverts rail money to increase active travel capital expenditure by just 1%.

South West area employment rates 2012 to 2023 line graph

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter employment rate second lowest in South West for second year running

Economic inactivity levels related to large student and retiree population remain high, creating recruitment challenges from healthcare to refuse collection, but council celebrates top retirement destination ranking as 'more good news'.

SUNDAY 29 OCTOBER 2023

Kidical Mass - Halloween special

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its sixth family bike ride as part of an ongoing campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

BELMONT PARK

Proposed south elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Plans for flats in back gardens of Longbrook Street student HMOs submitted for approval

Application for six-bed three-storey block on what is now car park used by commuters does not address neighbourhood plan community balance concerns.

SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER 2023

Isca Ensemble celebration concert

An evening of classical music celebrating the life of Joanna Leach with soloist Ben Goldscheider in aid of local charity Hospicare.

EXETER CATHEDRAL

THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER 2023

Rock Against Extinction

An evening of music, poetry and more in aid of Exeter Climate Action Hub.

EXETER PHOENIX

Just Stop Oil protestor George Simonson on the University of Exeter Forum entrance portico

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Just Stop Oil protest puts university fossil fuel financing under spotlight

University of Exeter tops UK fossil fuel funding table following £14.7 million deal with Shell but has more than one close relationship with major emissions producers.

Larkbeare House

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

County council to sell land and buildings worth up to £10 million to raise money and cut costs

Wedding venue Larkbeare House and gardens, County Hall residential development land and Compass House, home of adult mental health service Talkworks, among assets for disposal as part of property rationalisation programme.

TUESDAY 31 OCTOBER TO SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2023

An Audience with a Ghost Hunter

An immersive after dark theatre experience in Exeter's oldest building.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

Exeter Digest #37: Exeter City Living special report

Our latest edition also includes curated culture events and a River Exe community run photo gallery.

Exeter City Living hoarding at Clifton Hill sports centre development site

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Living to be all-but wound up after £4.5 million losses with £10 million owed to council

Council expects resulting resale value of surrendered Clifton Hill development site not to cover company's debts, with remaining losses to be written off, as Liveable Exeter vision thrown into doubt and councillors evade responsibility for failure.

Southgate development site plan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Southgate development of up to 200 new flats on Magdalen Street car park to alter Western Way gyratory

Screening opinion concludes no significant environmental impact will result from Liveable Exeter scheme.

, updated

Proposed Summerland Street 'co-living' block illustrative aerial view

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Revised proposals for Summerland Street 'co-living' block submitted

Developer of 147-bedspace six storey scheme on city council land claims it will contribute to local housing need, ensure 'mixed and balanced communities' and enhance the local conservation area.

NHS logo

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Radiographers join consultants and junior doctors on strike at Royal Devon NHS Trust

First industrial action of its kind comes as government consults on plans to threaten health staff with dismissal to compel them to work on strike days.

SUNDAY 29 OCTOBER 2023

Spork! Dead Poets Slam

An October spoken-word poetry special featuring poet and slam champion Rick Dove.

EXETER PHOENIX

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Salmon Run

Dozens of runners took part in three community runs along the River Exe to highlight the significance of salmon and the species' relationship with the waterway.

TUESDAY 10 TO SUNDAY 22 OCTOBER 2023

Food on Film autumn season

The programme exploring our relationship with food continues with documentary and narrative film screenings and a visit to Exeter Growers Co-operative.

EXETER PHOENIX

FRIDAY 6 & SATURDAY 7 OCTOBER 2023

Squeeze Box

An immersive installation for and about the disabled experience.

MAKETANK

Exeter Digest #36: Co-Cars liquidation - Royal Clarence Hotel rebuild - Hospital strike

Our top stories plus local news that matters with planning updates, public consultations and curated community and culture events.

St Thomas library

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

St Thomas library forced to relocate when lease expires in November

Landlord Exeter Estates Holdings, controlled by Exeter Chiefs CEO and chairman Tony Rowe, sought substantial rent increase after withdrawing planning application to demolish library building and replace it with block of thirteen flats.

Exeter City Council litter bin

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council to remove a quarter of city's 800 litter bins

It says many are under-used because they are in the wrong place or too close to other bins, and that city centre bins will be 'largely unaffected'.

The remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel in Cathedral Yard

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Royal Clarence Hotel rebuild finally granted planning permission

Agreed developer contributions do not include planned education provision and may be significantly reduced after construction is complete.

Empty Co-Cars parking bay in College Road, Exeter

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Co-Cars liquidation expected to leave creditor and shareholder losses of more than £1.3 million

Sale of Co-Bikes fleet and spare parts agreed for just 4.5% of £600,000 book value after significant grant funding and investment fail to float shared mobility provider.

Illustrative elevation facing St Luke's campus

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developer appeals Heavitree Road police station & magistrates court student/co-living blocks refusal

Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and offshore-registered PBSA Heavitree Road S.A.R.L. seek to overturn Exeter City Council decision to reject application for 964-bed development beside The Gorge.

Royal Devon and Exeter hospital

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Four day strike by consultants and junior doctors at Royal Devon NHS Trust

Industrial action affecting almost all planned care marks first time consultants and junior doctors have taken strike action together.

Exeter Digest #35: The Gorge co-living rent levels - Exeland House flood risks revision - Wellbeing Exeter funding cut

Our top stories plus local news that matters with planning updates, public consultations and curated community and culture events.

St Petrock's mobile rough sleeper service

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

St Petrock's shortlisted for National Lottery project of the year award

Mobile rough sleeper service among seventeen finalists shortlisted from nearly 4,000 applicants to reach public vote stage of national award.

County Hall

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

County council forecasts £9.3 million overspend on top of £36.6 million SEND services deficit

Additional £10 million service delivery cuts, mostly from adult social care and children's services, to be allocated to government 'safety valve' deficit programme.

NHS Devon map

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Nearly 60,000 patients on Devon NHS dental services waiting list

Report says number of adults able to access NHS dentist in Devon has fallen to less than 40% as practices hand back contracts and commissioners struggle to procure replacement providers.

Wellbeing Exeter community building graphic

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Devon County Council cuts £270,000 Wellbeing Exeter partnership funding

Decision made in parallel with homelessness prevention funding cut decisions following January announcement of £50 million of unspecified 2023-24 budget cuts.

Cover of Exeter City Council draft 2023-27 housing strategy

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council seeks feedback on council housing strategy

Exeter City Council is seeking feedback on a draft 2023-27 council housing strategy that will guide the way it manages its stock of 4,800 rented homes and 1,000 leasehold properties over the next five years.

View of the original proposals from New Bridge Street

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeland House 'co-living' proposals revised to address 'extreme increase in flood risks'

Environment Agency says most new residential development in River Exe floodplain 'will be required to be at first floor or higher' to deal with 'future flood risks exacerbated by climate change'.

The Gorge marketing graphic

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

First Exeter 'co-living' rooms advertised to let from £1,045-£1,360 per month plus council tax

£40,800 minimum salary to rent 26.5 square metre room in six storey 133-unit block, promoted as two minutes' walk from university St Luke's campus, requiring tenants among top 20% of Exeter earners – or with wealthy guarantors.

SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2023

Salmon Run 2023

Three runs along the River Exe to highlight the significance of salmon and the species' relationship with the waterway.

RIVER EXE

WEDNESDAY 13 TO SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2023

CROW Show: Light

Paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramic and textile works by members of the Creative Older Women art collective.

MAKETANK

, updated

SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2023

Kidical Mass returns

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its fifth family bike ride and picnic as part of an ongoing campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

SOUTHERNHAY

Exeter Digest #34: Howell Road garages - Home Office fail - St James co-living block - CIL charges - Water Lane plans - Just Stop Oil

Our top stories plus local news that matters with planning updates, public consultations and curated community and culture events.

Illustrative view of the development

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Plans for eighteen 'zero carbon' bungalows on Church Hill field submitted for approval

Low density development proposal on unallocated site above Pinhoe conflicts with local plan policies intended to protect Exeter's northern hills and landscape setting.

Proposed floor plans and elevations

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Plans for PBSA in back garden of Pennsylvania Road student HMO submitted for approval

Application for six-bed two-storey block cites neighbouring student block in back garden beside Devonshire Place orchard and play area as precedent.

Belluno Italian restaurant in Newton St Cyres

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Home Office fails in bid to shut down local restaurant

Hearing following December immigration raid revokes premises supervisor's authority and briefly suspends but stops short of revoking premises licence.

Exeter City Futures branding

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Futures board minutes published nearly nine months after meeting held

Minutes confirm Global City Futures work on Exeter Development Fund continues via direct city council contract framework and suggest university could retain brand after company dissolution.

Pendragon Road greenfield development illustrative layout

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Pendragon Road development of 100 greenfield homes in Exeter's northern hills allowed at appeal

City council decision to refuse outline permission overturned by planning inspector citing 50% affordable housing provision and housing supply shortfall.

Howell Road garage covered in graffiti

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council grants Howell Road garage flats permission despite pending PBSA appeal on same site

Developer still aims to build student accommodation block saying flats would be 'backstop' against loss of appeal while St James residents concerned students will occupy development either way.

Belluno Italian restaurant in Newton St Cyres

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Home Office demands closure of local restaurant

The Home Office has asked Mid Devon District Council to revoke the premises licence at Belluno, an Italian restaurant in Newton St Cyres, effectively shutting down the business.

Victoria Street co-living proposal illustrative view

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

101-bed 'co-living' complex proposed in the heart of St James

Council vision for city's future on collision course with neighbourhood plan policies in Victoria Street scheme described as 'yet more student housing by stealth'.

Cover of Exeter City Council 2022-23 unaudited statement of accounts

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Annual inspection period begins as unaudited 2022-23 city council accounts published

Special information access rights enabling local residents to examine records and ask council and external auditor related questions apply until 12 October.

The Gorge co-living development under construction

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

New Community Infrastructure Levy charges to be introduced by city council

Charges levied on most new development towards the cost of infrastructure that is needed to mitigate its impact are to change in line with council proposals that discount co-living development to facilitate its delivery.

Illustrative view of proposed development

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Water Lane redevelopment outline plans submitted to city council for approval

Up to 980 dwellings and 40,000m2 of other uses including student accommodation, workspace, education, retail and a hotel envisaged on ex-industrial site between railway embankment and the canal.

Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets modal filter illustration

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

New Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets scheme public exhibitions

Devon County Council is holding two further public exhibitions of the Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets scheme from 4.30-6.30pm on 12 September at Whipton Community Hall and at the same time on 14 September at St Mark’s Church Hall.

Royal Devon and Exeter hospital

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Two day strike by consultants at Royal Devon NHS Trust

A two day strike by consultants at the Royal Devon NHS Trust is being held from 7am on Thursday 24 August.

SATURDAY 26 AUGUST 2023

Exeter Street Arts Festival 2023

The annual festival returns with street theatre and performance, interactive workshops, walkabouts and live music.

EXETER CITY CENTRE

SATURDAY 26 AUGUST 2023

Ukrainian Yarmarok

A celebration of Ukrainian independence with a traditional fair featuring food, music, dance and crafts.

MAKETANK

3 Rivers Developments development plan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council-owned property development company to be dissolved

Mid Devon District Council is expected to wind up 3 Rivers Developments Ltd, a failing property development company it set up in 2017 and has since loaned more than £21 million.

Just Stop Oil Exeter protest march

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Just Stop Oil protests arrive in Exeter

Slow march from Sidwell Street to Northernhay Gardens first action in city by group calling for end to UK fossil fuel exploration, development and production.

Bus lane

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Public consultation on county council moving traffic offence enforcement powers

Devon County Council is holding a public consultation until 18 September on its plans to adopt moving traffic offence enforcement powers and introduce Automatic Number Place Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Exeter St David's station manager's office

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter St David's station manager's office to be demolished

Network Rail has notified the city council that it plans to demolish the former superintendent’s office building at Exeter St David’s station in October.

FRIDAY 8 TO MONDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2023

The Real Onedin Line Redux

Art Work Exeter presents an exploration of Exeter's quayside including the restaging of scenes from a 1970s BBC drama filmed on location at the quay.

EXETER QUAY

NHS logo

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Four day strike by junior doctors at Royal Devon NHS Trust

A four day strike by junior doctors at the Royal Devon NHS Trust is being held from 7am on Friday 11 August.

WEDNESDAY 6 TO SUNDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2023

Climate exhibition 2023

Exeter Science Centre presents talks, activities and virtual reality experiences focussed on climate modelling.

MAKETANK

SUNDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2023

Exeter tomato festival

Seed Bank celebration includes a blind taste test, workshops, music, face painting and a tomato-based lunch.

DAILY BOWL

Exeter Digest #33: Duryard Valley solar farm - Climate Action Hub under threat

Our top stories plus local news that matters with public consultations, planning updates and three days of theatre in the park.

Rough sleeper at Exeter Guildhall

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Devon County Council pauses homelessness prevention cuts

Devon County Council has paused its plans to cut a £1.5 million homelessness prevention budget following a campaign led by YMCA Exeter.

Tyre Extinguishers logo

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Tyre Extinguishers destroy Matford Jaguar dealership SUV tyres

Climate activists drilled holes in all four of the tyres of more than 60 SUVs parked at a Jaguar dealership in Matford during the early hours of Monday 7 August.

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership area map

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership to be wound up

The government has confirmed that the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership will be wound up in April next year.

THURSDAY 10 AUGUST 2023

Hero & Leander

Six multi-instrumentalists tell the story of the stranded lovers through folk and indie songs, choral music and sea shanties.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets illustration

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets scheme trial begins

The Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets scheme trial has begun. The first six months, to 2 February 2024, are a statutory consultation period during which residents and organisations are invited to comment on the scheme.

Cover of Exeter City Council draft digital customer service strategy

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

City council invites comments on digital customer service transformation

Exeter City Council is inviting comments until 15 September on a draft digital customer service strategy that aims to make more efficient use of council resources by increasing its reliance on digital technology for service delivery.

University of Exeter Duryard Valley solar farm development site plan

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council approves university solar farm in Duryard Valley greenfield

Officers say harm resulting from development of publicly-accessible urban green space outweighed by benefits of renewable energy generation.

SATURDAY 12 AUGUST 2023

Out of the Deep Blue

Outdoor shows that combine dance, movement and puppetry to explore the climate and biodiversity crises.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

Exeter Climate Action Hub opening ceremony

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter Climate Action Hub threatened with closure by Crown Estate and Princesshay partners

Agents will not renew lease beyond 15 August or consider other accommodation, claiming all similarly-sized units in half-empty shopping centre are under offer.

, updated

FRIDAY 11 AUGUST 2023

Spork! summer special

An evening of al fresco spoken-word comedy and poetry with Jonny Fluffypunk, Jackie Juno, Just Some Guy and Muneera Pilgrim.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

Exeter Digest #32: County Hall cuts homelessness support - Stagecoach stuck in traffic

Our top stories plus local news that matters with exhibitions, consultations and planning applications and local art, film and music.

Rough sleeper sheltering at Exeter Guildhall

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

County council determined to axe homelessness prevention funding despite zero support for cuts

Fate of £1.5 million contract sealed before consultation began with district councils and services providers kept in dark and huge prospective financial and human costs, dwarfing claimed savings, ignored.

MONDAY 17 TO SATURDAY 29 JULY 2023

Radiance, Rubrics and Rituals: So We Are Held

Sapphire Blue Collective artists present an exhibition of their work.

MAKETANK

Exeter bus stuck in rush hour traffic

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

The road ahead for Stagecoach

Exeter's bus services remain a topic of criticism, but when buses fail to turn up it's too simplistic to blame the bus company. An interview with Stagecoach South West managing director Peter Knight helps explain why.

TUESDAY 25 JULY 2023

Food on Film presents Meat the Future

A documentary about sustainably cultured meat plus panel discussion.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter In Brief - July 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

Exeter Digest #31: Leisure services overspend - Water Lane site access

Last chance to invest in our community share offer plus our top stories, Exeter In Brief, a major planning policy consultation and a selection of curated community events.

St Sidwell's Point leisure centre behind derelict Exeter bus station

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£1 million leisure overspend fuels £3.2 million city council deficit

2022-23 budget review confirms £2.2 million annual leisure subsidy to continue with St Sidwell's Point expected to make a loss for at least five years while another £22 million to be spent on Exeter City Living Vaughan Road development.

Casting House Water Lane development site compulsory purchase

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Compulsory purchase of flats and disposal of council land to enable Water Lane development site access

Exeter City Council to use powers to provide developer with land for new highways layout at gateway to proposed low-traffic neighbourhood.

TUESDAY 11 JULY 2023

Food on Film presents Food for Thought

A documentary about meat and dairy farming in Cornwall with plant-based food tasting and panel discussion.

EXETER PHOENIX

Local news that matters - The independent journalism Exeter needs

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Local news that matters

You've still got time to invest in the independent journalism Exeter needs, but only a few days. Our community share offer closes on 2 July.

Exeter Digest #30: Student accommodation consultation - SEND children's services - County Hall secrecy

Our community share offer enters its final fortnight plus top stories, news in brief, public consultations and community events.

Exeter City Council consultants' Article 4 direction area report option 3 map

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council student accommodation policy proposals overlook 50-80% of student-occupied housing stock

Article 4 direction & HMO SPD consultation omits key information, confuses licensing and planning matters, misrepresents NPPF requirements and proposes barely discernible changes in place of needed new Exeter Local Plan policies.

SATURDAY 15 JULY 2023

Music in the Library with the Belshaw Band

An evening of original composition from Simon Belshaw and his band.

EXETER LIBRARY

SATURDAY 5 AUGUST 2023

Phonic Fest 2023

Exeter Phoenix is hosting a day of live music from local artists plus DJs to raise money for Phonic FM, Exeter's community radio station.

EXETER PHOENIX

SATURDAY 17 TO SATURDAY 24 JUNE 2023

Refugee Week 2023

Refugee Support Devon & Exeter Phoenix present a day of arts and crafts, live music and food plus two film screenings.

EXETER QUAY & EXETER PHOENIX

Representatives of SEND Parents and Carers for Change standing in front of County Hall

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

SEND children's services still 'failing to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people'

Devon County Council says change is underway but parents say problems remain unresolved, not enough is being done and their views are being ignored.

Exeter In Brief - June 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

SATURDAY 10 TO SUNDAY 18 JUNE 2023

Great Big Green Week

A film screening with Q&A, plant swap, climate cafe, litterpick, open mic night, repair cafe, wildflower seed ball workshop and more.

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

Let's reclaim local journalism - Help publish the independent journalism Exeter needs in the community-owned newspaper it deserves

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Let's reclaim local journalism

Invest in local news that matters and help publish the independent journalism Exeter needs in the community-owned newspaper it deserves.

FRIDAY 16 JUNE 2023

Culture for Climate open mic summer edition

An evening of climate-themed poetry, music and readings as part of Big Green Week.

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

Closed doors at County Hall

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Closed doors at County Hall for councillor conduct hearings

A survey of local authority approaches to standards committee hearings finds Devon County Council alone in imposing private determination of conduct complaints.

Exeter Digest #29: Councillor conduct code breach - University comes clean on student numbers - Labour committee chairs

Invest in local news that matters by buying community shares in Exeter Observer then catch up with our top stories, the news in brief, ongoing public consultations and Exeter community events.

AirBnB website listing page

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter councillor Yvonne Atkinson found in breach of code of conduct but escapes prosecution

Summary of investigation related to rental property interests involving Devon & Cornwall Police and Crown Prosecution Service withheld by Devon County Council while councillor campaigned for re-election to Exeter City Council.

, updated

University of Exeter students 2001-2023 Freedom Of Information Act responses vs published Full-Time Equivalent numbers line chart

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University comes clean on true Exeter campus student numbers over past two decades

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information Act confirm between 7,500 and 12,000 more students based in city each year than university numbers suggest – until this year – with major implications for council planning policy.

Exeter City Council annual meeting

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Labour councillors again appointed to all thirteen committee chairs at annual council meeting

Council leader finally quits planning committee alongside other remaining Executive member but persists with secret board that enables scrutiny evasion.

Exeter City Council party seat distribution after 2023 local elections

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council 2023 local elections results

The votes cast for each candidate in each ward plus turnout and postal votes with the overall distribution of seats.

SATURDAY 13 MAY 2023

Rainbow Fayre

Exeter Phoenix and Exeter Pride present a one-day celebration featuring live music, performance, stalls, food and the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

EXETER PHOENIX

SATURDAY 10 & SUNDAY 11 JUNE 2023

Exeter Respect Festival 2023

Exeter Respect Festival returns for its 26th year with live music and performance, food stalls, campaigners and community groups.

BELMONT PARK

Exeter Digest #28: Exeter election results - Council leader code conflicts - Community grants cuts redux

Read all about the 2023 Exeter local elections in our in-depth analysis then check out Maketank's Make Your Own Book festival and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet at Poltimore House.

Exeter City Council ballot share by ward 2016-23

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter electoral tectonic plates rumble as political landscape shifts

Labour takes second Conservative seat in Topsham but loses in St Thomas to Liberal Democrats as Green wins in Heavitree, St David's and Newtown & St Leonards place party second in 2023 city council elections.

Satellite image showing two minute pedestrian route from The Cottage, Nadderwater to Newbery car breakers, Redhills

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

How far does the council leader have to go before he sees a planning committee conflict of interest?

Phil Bialyk led charge against application to develop site 160 yards from his house despite conduct codes and LGA planning probity guidance.

Exeter City Council community grants budgets including 2023-24 virements bar chart

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Councillor falsely labels community grants cuts story 'misinformation'

Labour's Martin Pearce brands Exeter Observer 'opposition propaganda' at full city council meeting, earning rebuke from Lord Mayor and putting council at risk of code of practice breach during pre-election period.

Exeter In Brief - May 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

SATURDAY 27 MAY 2023

Romeo and Juliet

Troubadour Stageworks presents an accessible, family-friendly production of Shakespeare's tragic romance.

POLTIMORE HOUSE

Exeter Digest #27: County governance failings - Local elections guide - Duryard double standard - Councillor attendance

Invest in local news that matters by buying community shares in Exeter Observer then help us hold the city's political parties to account during the local elections, catch up with the news in brief and browse Exeter events.

Electoral Commission voting options graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

When, where and how to vote in the 2023 Exeter local elections

Our guide to casting your ballot in person, by post and by proxy as well as the new voter ID requirements.

2023 Exeter local elections guide graphic showing current council seat distribution

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2023 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 4 May. Our essential guide highlights who's standing where, wards to watch and what the results might be. It also covers the wider context, voter ID and the impact of First Past the Post in Exeter elections.

Harry Johnson-Hill Exeter Duryard & St James and Winchester Alresford & Itchen Valley candidate local elections campaign leaflets

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter local elections candidate is also standing in Winchester

University of Exeter student Harry Johnson-Hill hopes to represent voters both in Duryard & St James and at home in Alresford & Itchen Valley, 100 miles away.

Exeter City Council 2022-23 councillors public meetings attendance bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Alphington worst represented ward as councillor attendance at public meetings varies widely across city

Consistent commitment to participation in democratic decision-making by some councillors in contrast with poor attendance rates of others.

TUESDAY 2 TO SATURDAY 13 MAY 2023

Make Your Own Book festival

An exhibition exploring local independent book and art creators with a weekend of storytelling, illustration and book-making workshops.

MAKETANK

Clouds gather over County Hall

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Devon County Council admits 'serious, material, well-evidenced' governance failures

Deficient SEND and children's services combine with threat of section 114 bankruptcy notice to prompt 'root and branch' review aimed at restoring 'external confidence in the council's democratic legitimacy'.

, updated

SATURDAY 22 & SUNDAY 23 APRIL 2023

The Great Imagining

A weekend of science, craft, poetry and film to coincide with Earth Day 2023.

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

SUNDAY 23 APRIL 2023

Kurdish Screen presents The Exam

A feature film by Iraqi Kurdish director Shawkat Amin Korki that depicts a high school student struggling to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage.

EXETER PHOENIX

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter climate activists subvertise bus shelters with satirical newspaper front pages

City centre posters promoting 'The Big One', a mass gathering in Parliament Square on 21 April expected to begin four days of climate action in Westminster involving 100,000 people.

Exeter Digest #26: Food policy red herring - Homelessness services cuts

Help publish the independent journalism Exeter needs by buying community shares in Exeter Observer then catch up with the news in brief and help us monitor the local elections by sending us any campaign materials you receive.

St Sidwell's Point cafe

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

City council sustainable food policy is a climate crisis red herring

Proposed changes don't apply to council meetings or most council food provision and are expected to have unquantifiably small impact while diverting resources from major decarbonisation challenges.

Invest in local news that matters - Help publish the independent journalism Exeter needs in the community-owned newspaper it deserves

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Invest in local news that matters and help Exeter Observer to grow

We're raising money to expand our team and publish the independent journalism Exeter needs in the community-owned newspaper it deserves.

Exeter local elections campaign materials

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Help hold Exeter's political parties to account during the local elections

Send us any campaign materials you receive so we can factcheck candidates' claims and hold them to their pledges after the votes have been counted.

Rough sleeping at Exeter Guildhall

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Devon County Council social care cuts target homelessness services

£1.5 million homelessness prevention service funding cut will make situation worse for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness and is likely to cost more than it saves.

SATURDAY 29 APRIL 2023

Not Saints and Together open mic night

A free evening of music, poetry and comedy in an inclusive, safe and sober space.

SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE

Exeter In Brief - April 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

WEDNESDAY 14 JUNE 2023

How can Exeter Observer help our city to thrive?

Come along to one of our informal events and share your ideas on how we might grow the independent journalism Exeter needs.

ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE

SUNDAY 16 APRIL 2023

Ukrainian Easter

A Ukrainian Orthodox Easter celebration with art and craft activities, Pysanky egg decoration and traditional song.

MAKETANK

Exeter Digest #25: Economic activity levels decline - Doors close on Devon bus decisions

Catch up with the news in brief, survey local development plans and consultations and have your say on Exeter Observer's plans to cover more of what matters and help the city's cultural and community life to thrive.

Local authority economic activity levels change 2011-2021 census

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Decline in Exeter economic activity levels among largest in country

Census figures also show population increasing at nearly six times rate of job creation over past decade while healthcare, wholesale/retail and teaching make up nearly half of all employment, reflecting low pay and productivity.

FRIDAY 31 MARCH 2023

Act Together community talk

A discussion led by University of Exeter climate scientist James Dyke on tackling the climate crisis.

EXETER COMMUNITY CENTRE

Devon County Council National Bus Strategy Bus Services Improvement Plan cover image

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Future of Devon bus services being decided behind closed doors

Devon County Council does not want the public to hear whether local service improvements are going according to plan.

TUESDAY 21 MARCH 2023

Earthquake appeal concert

Kurdish Community Devon hosts an evening of music as an act of resilience to raise money for earthquake victims.

EXETER PHOENIX

FRIDAY 31 MARCH 2023

Library Late

An evening of live music, creative workshops and a tour of Exeter Library's hidden corners.

EXETER LIBRARY

Exeter In Brief - March 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

Exeter Digest #24: Community grants slashed - Council decision-making damaging local democracy

Catch up with Exeter In Brief, survey upcoming development plans, respond to ongoing consultations and take your pick from a selection of local events.

Exeter City Council community grants budgets bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Council slashes community grants but splashes cash on paddling pools in contested wards

Exeter grants programme budget reduced from £425,000 to £15,000 leaving hundreds of grassroots groups out in the cold as the impact of borrowing takes its toll and council fails to consult on budget cuts despite auditor recommendation.

SATURDAY 11 MARCH 2023

International Women's Festival

A free one day festival celebrating women with live music, dance, poetry, talks, art, food and more.

EXETER PHOENIX

SATURDAY 11 MARCH 2023

Culture for Climate open mic night

Extinction Rebellion Exeter hosts an evening of climate-themed poetry, music and readings.

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

SATURDAY 4 MARCH 2023

Climate Fresk

An interactive workshop explaining the science behind climate change.

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

ARTS & CULTURE

With (Y)our Own Eyes

Devon Ukrainian Association and Maketank present an exhibition of frontline photography to mark the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine and the country's nine-year war for independence.

THURSDAY 30 MARCH 2023

Compline - A contemplative journey through Lent

Performances of plainchant and polyphony with prayers at St Olave's church.

ST OLAVE'S CHURCH

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council's approach to decision-making is damaging local democracy

Separation of powers and transparency provisions intended to safeguard public interest being subverted while council defies auditor over loss-making company.

WEDNESDAY 1 MARCH 2023

Mothers on the Mic by Mothers Who Make

An inclusive daytime open mic event for adults and children with new music by local mothers and others.

MAKETANK

FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2023

Spork! Worst Poet Wins

A poetry slam with a twist hosted by Locally Sourced and Edward Tripp.

SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE

Exeter Digest #23: Devon children's services failings - Exeter empty and second homes

Get up to speed with our new Exeter In Brief coverage, find out about ongoing local consultations and get ready to celebrate Phonic FM's 15th birthday.

Special educational needs and disabilities protesters at County Hall

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Devon County Council charged with 'relentless institutional failings' in SEND children's services provision

Children with special educational needs and disabilities protest alongside parents at County Hall as Ofsted monitoring continues to find serious unresolved issues and key areas that require significant change.

TUESDAY 14 MARCH 2023

The Forgotten Quarter

An evening talk exploring the Mint Lane area between the first and second world wars.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

Exeter empty and second homes by council tax band October 2022 bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter has more empty and second homes than built in city in past two years

Council tax premium proposals that aim to raise additional revenue from underused housing stock might also encourage return to residential occupancy.

Exeter In Brief - February 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2023

Phonic FM 15th birthday party

Exeter's community radio station celebrates fifteen years of broadcasting with an evening of live music and DJs.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter Digest #22: Community infrastructure levy review - Student numbers - County council spending

The first edition of 2023 also introduces our new Exeter In Brief section and trails PRISM Exeter LGBTQIA+ speakers, a free documentary film screening and Exeter's first seed swap.

University of Exeter students based at Streatham & St Luke's campuses 2021-22 & 2022-23 table

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

30,000 students based at Exeter university campuses in 2022-23

Freedom of information request reveals significant drop on last year with postgraduate students accounting for 58% of fall in numbers.

Co-living - discover a new way to rent

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council development levy changes are insufficiently evidenced and don't meet city infrastructure needs

Exeter City Council and Liveable Exeter partners impose faulty typology driven by policy objectives while ignoring new local plan, evidence base and statutory funding statement and excluding residential and retail charges from review.

FRIDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2023

The Oil Machine

A free film screening and panel discussion with Dr James Dyke

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

, updated

MONDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2023

PRISM Exeter speakers series

LGBTQIA+ people share their experiences working in STEMM as part of this year's LGBT+ History Month.

EXETER LIBRARY

SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2023

Instructions2LiveBy

An interactive Preston Street Union event invites participants to seek out wise words and helpful hints in fact and fiction.

EXETER LIBRARY

Devon County Council headquarters at County Hall

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Underperforming county council children's services to receive nearly half of proposed spending increases

Details of simultaneous £50 million 2023-24 spending reductions not yet published as finance director cites service delivery 're-prioritisation'.

SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2023

Seed Bank seed swap

Inaugural event also features talks on composting, fermentation and reducing kitchen waste with stalls, displays and activities.

MAKETANK

MONDAY 23 JANUARY 2023

Until Tomorrow

A new play about three parent carers based on academic research by Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer.

EXETER PHOENIX

SUNDAY 22 JANUARY 2023

Flow Orchard wassail

Traditional music and song, story and celebration with apple juice and cider round an open fire.

TREWS WEIR ORCHARD

TUESDAY 10 JANUARY 2023

Extinction Rebellion 100 days campaign

Exeter event is first step towards April gathering of 100,000 people in Parliament Square.

EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB

Reach Fund logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer granted £12,630 of investment support by Reach Fund

Business development programme funded by Access - The Foundation for Social Investment - to enable Exeter Observer to raise investment finance to help it grow.

Exeter In Brief - January 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

, updated

Exeter Digest #21: Greener grass? - Council lottery - EDF secrecy - £2.2 million ECL loss

A bumper festive holiday edition also covers the nurses strike, South West Water's 'sustained poor performance' and the university's gender pay gap plus a Community Infrastructure Levy consultation.

Exeter city centre retail area map 2017 and 2022 CDRC data

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is the grass really greener in Exeter city centre?

Academic research placing Exeter retail area at top of green space table was nationally reported, locally misrepresented then repurposed as booster fuel by local politicians overlooking study's social justice focus.

Lottery graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Council lottery operator to take cut from local charitable donations

Decision to promote gambling as 'incentivised giving' plays down risks without assessing potential impacts or evidencing claimed benefits, disrupting relationships between community and voluntary sector organisations and supporters.

Exeter Development Fund workshop presentation October 2021

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Futures falsely claims development fund documents disclosed under FOI legislation

Senior council director puts company on collision course with Information Commissioner's Office as significant governance failings emerge after councillors and public kept in dark over Liveable Exeter financing scheme proposals.

Striking nurses at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Historic nurses strike goes ahead after government refuses to negotiate over pay

Royal College of Nursing members out in force at Exeter NHS trusts alongside colleagues across the country as recruitment crisis threatens profession.

FRIDAY 13 JANUARY 2023

From Townhouse to Tenements

An evening talk and tour with performances explores the 19th century history of Exeter's oldest building.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

England and Wales water company 2021 pollution incidents per 10,000m2 of sewer bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

South West Water performance remains among worst in sector as it falls further behind targets

Regulator highlights 'sustained poor performance' after serious pollution incidents nearly triple and Environment Agency condemns company in annual assessment.

Exeter City Council 2020-21 external audit report cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Living put council at 'significant financial risk' after £2.2 million loss in first two years

Missing business plan, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest among senior council directors prompt board resignations and governance review at council-owned and funded company.

University of Exeter full-time academic staff salary distribution 2020-21

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter lags behind on female pay and employment terms

HESA figures show poor performance compared with Universities UK members and only incremental changes over past five years, mostly since staff began industrial action over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Exeter Digest #20: ICO investigates university - Stagecoach escapes - University strike - Roads dominate Devon transport spending

Our essential newsletter also covers three ongoing public consultations plus an original play by Exeter Drama Company, traditional festive music by candlelight and poetry, comedy and live carols for Christmas.

Student houses in multiple occupation to let in Raleigh Road, Exeter

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Information Commissioner to investigate university over student accommodation numbers refusal

Compliance failure follows university admission that nearly 39,000 students based at Exeter campuses in 2021-22, suggesting around three quarters of city's private rented housing stock occupied by students.

Exeter In Brief - December 2022

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters

, updated

Exeter ticket zone map

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Stagecoach escapes major sanctions over service failures

Traffic commissioner decides four days of free weekend travel in Exeter Plus ticket zone is sufficient penalty for poor performance despite public inquiry hearing severe criticism of company.

University of Exeter Streatham campus picket line

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter staff strike in largest walkout in sector history

Dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions continues as universities generate record income.

WEDNESDAY 14 DECEMBER 2022

Spork! Christmas special

Spork! presents poetry, comedy and live music from Joelle Taylor, Luke Wright, BopaRhys and friends, with carols from the Exeter Railway Band.

EXETER PHOENIX

Devon County Council 2022-24 capital transport programme allocations

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Motor vehicle infrastructure continues to dominate Devon transport spending

New active travel infrastructure to receive just 5% share of capital allocations this year and next, with new roads capital expenditure to increase from 74% to 86%.

SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2023

Seed Bank workshops

Monthly sessions preparing seeds for the first ever Exeter Seed Bank seed swap.

EXETER PHOENIX

FRIDAY 6 JANUARY 2023

Concerts by candlelight

Pianist Alex Wilson plays traditional festive music from around the world at Christmastime.

ST DISEN'S & ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

THURSDAY 8 TO SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER 2022

Weird Women

Exeter Drama Company presents an original play about three sisters who share a dark secret.

LONGDOWN VILLAGE HALL

THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 2022

Sourdough bread-making and shaping

St Sidwell's Community Centre is running a winter evening sourdough and rye bread-making class.

SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE

Exeter Digest #19: Reclaim the Night - West Park - Climate Action Hub - Active travel - Boundary changes

Our essential newsletter also covers three ongoing public consultations plus a showcase of local spoken word talent, a film screening and discussion on the cost of living and climate crises and the return of St Leonard's Christmas Fair.

Reclaim the Night protest in Bedford Street

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Reclaim the Night protest against sexual violence and harassment of women and girls in public space

Exeter event takes place after survey finding that 85% felt unsafe or very unsafe when walking alone in city centre at night, with police figures showing violent and sexual offences exceed 35% of all recorded crime in city.

Clydesdale, Nash and Birks Grange Village redevelopment illustrative elevations

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University holds public consultation on 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment design

Outline plans to demolish 30 buildings and construct 50,000m2 of student accommodation on fifteen acre Streatham campus site did not comply with university or council environmental policies.

SATURDAY 3 DECEMBER 2022

St Leonard's Christmas Fair

Community-run market returns for eleventh year with festive food, music and gifts.

MAGDALEN ROAD

Exeter Climate Action Hub

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Climate Action Hub opens in Exeter city centre

A dedicated climate crisis information and resource centre is opening on 25 November in an empty Princesshay retail unit to provide events, meeting space, film screenings and drop-in advice and support.

SUNDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2022

Greenpeace town hall

Greenpeace Exeter is screening a short film and hosting a discussion on the cost of living and climate crises.

EXETER COMMUNITY CENTRE

Exeter adults who do any walking or cycling for any purpose 2016 to 2021 bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Figures show declining Exeter walking and cycling rates as active travel delivery falls by the wayside

County council plans to remove Queen Street active travel infrastructure despite road space reallocation commitments expose equivocal city transport policy aim.

Exeter borough and Exmouth and East Exeter county constituency boundary changes final proposals combined map

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Pinhoe, St Loye's and Topsham all in new Exmouth and East Exeter constituency under revised changes

Final boundary commission consultation follows city council proposal to move marginal Pinhoe to safe Conservative seat and keep Priory Labour stronghold in city.

SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2022

Spork Up! with Bohdan Piasecki

Spork! is holding an afternoon workshop and evening performance showcasing local spoken word talent.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter Digest #18: University student numbers - Stagecoach public inquiry - Heavitree Road PBSA/co-living complex

Our essential newsletter also covers a new digital map of the city, the return of St Thomas winter market and a Refugee Support Devon fundraiser.

SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2022

Mapping our Exeter

A free Being Human festival event exploring historic maps of Exeter and inviting contributions to a new digital map of the city.

DEVON & EXETER INSTITUTION

SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2022

St Thomas winter market returns

Community-run event combines artisan traders with music, entertainment and workshops to create family-friendly festival atmosphere.

ST THOMAS CHURCH

Exeter Purpose Built Student Accommodation map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University says 39,000 students – nearly 30% of city's population – based at Exeter campuses in 2021-22

Freedom of information request reveals 11,500 more students than published FTE figures with major implications for council planning policy but university refuses to disclose numbers in PBSA vs residential housing stock.

Empty bus timetable

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Stagecoach proposes free travel and fast-tracked information upgrades to compensate for service failures

West of England traffic commissioner holds Exeter's principal bus operator to account at public inquiry, with final decision on performance expected this week.

FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2022

Mothers on the Mic

Mothers Who Make is holding an inclusive daytime open mic event for adults and children featuring new music written by local mothers and others.

EXETER LIBRARY

WEDNESDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2022

Refugee Support Devon fundraiser

Luca Rossi, Trikkeballakke and La Tarantella perform Southern Italian music and dance in aid of Refugee Support Devon.

EXETER PHOENIX

Illustrative ground floor plan

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Heavitree Road developer gets sixth pitch for student/co-living complex

Eight design iterations, six council meetings, four consultation rounds and two deferrals combine to impede public participation in planning process on key Liveable Exeter site and increase chances of decision being overturned at appeal.

SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER 2022

Kidical Mass Halloween special

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its fourth family bike ride as part of an ongoing campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

THURSDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2022

Sourdough pizza and pitta-making by night

St Sidwell's Community Centre is running autumn evening sourdough bread-making classes.

SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE

Exeter Digest #17: Haven Banks redevelopment - Liveable Exeter investment zones - Council borrowing

Our essential newsletter also includes a curated selection of community and culture events and a new Exeter Local Plan consultation briefing.

Computer generated aerial view of proposed development from south

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Flood risk threatens to sink Haven Banks redevelopment plans

Proposals for 434 rental units accommodating up to 1,167 people on 1.7 hectare Liveable Exeter site would deliver extreme housing densities that deny amenity to prospective occupants while inflicting significant impacts on existing residents.

SATURDAY 29 OCTOBER 2022

March of the Mummies

Campaigning charity Pregnant Then Screwed is holding a national Halloween-themed childcare protest march.

COUNTY HALL

THURSDAY 20 OCTOBER 2022

Black History Month pottery, poetry and song

Ceramicist Lili John and Devon Development Education are hosting a celebration of the life of 19th century potter, poet and slave David Drake.

EXETER COMMUNITY CENTRE

Exeter City Council outline draft local plan site allocations crop

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Will council seek investment zone status for Liveable Exeter sites?

Government growth plans combine tax breaks with planning deregulation, putting affordable housing provision and environmental protections at risk with little evidence that promised investment zone benefits would result.

TUESDAY 25 OCTOBER 2022

Spork! October special

Spork! presents an evening of spoken-word comedy and poetry with Kevin P. Gilday and multiple slam champion Kathryn O'Driscoll.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter City Council government borrowing 2014-2022 bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Council borrowing nearly triples in three years as property acquisition and development loans mount

Freedom of information request reveals five paragraph 'outline business plan' for £55 million Guildhall shopping centre investment.

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Kidical Mass returns to Exeter's streets

Hundreds of people took part in Exeter's third Kidical Mass family bike ride on Saturday as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

New Exeter local plan cover

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

New Exeter Local Plan outline draft consultation

Our guide to Exeter City Council's consultation as well as the national planning system reform threatening major changes that would require significant revision to the new plan before its submission to the planning inspectorate.

, updated

Exeter Digest #16: Co-living costs - Summerland Street tower - Car free day ignored

Our essential newsletter also includes a selection of community and culture events and signposts our briefing on the new Exeter Local Plan.

THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER 2022

Spork! open mic night

Headliner Charice Bharwaj leads an evening of spoken word entertainment.

LITTLE DROP OF POISON

Extinction Rebellion UK tour bus outside Exeter City Council's Paris Street offices

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

World car free day ignored in Exeter as Extinction Rebellion challenges council climate inaction

Protestors gathered outside council offices as CEO Karime Hassan posed for photo with construction company development manager at Princesshay promotion.

THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER 2022

Sourdough bread-making by night

St Sidwell's Community Centre is running autumn evening sourdough pizza and pitta-making classes.

SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE

SUNDAY 2 OCTOBER 2022

Herbal history, folklore & medicine

Exeter Seed Bank is holding a workshop exploring common local herbs and plants with medical herbalist Ile Ashcroft.

EXETER PHOENIX

FRIDAY 30 SEPTEMBER & SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER 2022

Pop-up curiosity shop

Agile Rabbit is hosting a two day science and culture-themed event featuring music, live art, interactive exhibits and games, talks and workshops.

MAKETANK

WEDNESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2022

Mother Tongue

Mothers Who Make and Spork! present a lunchtime spoken word event for mother artists and audiences with caring roles.

MAKETANK

SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2022

Kidical Mass is back

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its third family bike ride and picnic as part of an ongoing campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

The Gorge co-living block classic studio room floorplan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

First Exeter 'co-living' block comes on stream with rooms at £946pcm+

Even 'affordable' rooms in six storey 133-unit Gladstone Road block would leave many local key workers living below minimum income threshold.

Summerland Street co-living block redevelopment site

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council paves way for 186-bed 'co-living' block in Summerland Street

Freedom of information request reveals intended scale of development after executive committee takes decision behind closed doors.

The Hive graphic

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer granted £5,000 of development support by Co-ops UK

Co-ops UK business development programme funded by The Co-operative Bank to help Exeter Observer develop opportunities to expand its operations and place its independent public interest news publishing on a sustainable footing.

Exeter Digest #15: Bus back better? - Net zero redundancy - Development fund under fire

Our bumper holiday newsletter also covers a St James' HMO appeal, planning enforcement changes, scope 3 emissions failure, cycling and walking strategy delays and property development promotion as community planning participation.

Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter Development Fund: rent extraction, unaffordable housing and gentrification, but not net zero

Exeter City Futures' private debt-driven Liveable Exeter property development financing scheme is under fire from councillors who say it is based on insufficiently-evidenced assumptions and won't meet Exeter's housing needs.

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

County council soft-pedalling on infrastructure plan which city council says will not form part of new Exeter Local Plan despite Department for Transport guidance.

Liveable Exeter community engagement with council development director Ian Collinson

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Property development promotion as community planning participation

If the Liveable Exeter property development scheme and its Exeter Development Fund financing vehicle are already intended to 'anchor and underpin' the new Exeter Local Plan, what will public consultation on the plan decide?

Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

St James HMO conversion refusal overturned at appeal

Council failed to provide sufficient evidence to support 2012 planning policy introduced to limit impact of student occupation of residential housing stock.

Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bus back better? Exeter services expected to remain unfit for purpose without needed changes

Government underfunding and bus sector challenges limit scope for improvement but county council failure to upgrade routes and policy ambitions plus high housing costs make Exeter difficulties acute, undermining net zero aspirations.

Monkerton masterplan map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Progressive Group planning enforcement proposal adopted despite public Labour rejection

Newly-published register also reveals council has issued as many planning enforcement notices in the past three months as it has in the past three years.

Exeter City Futures website - vision & mission summary

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

University emissions study confirms Net Zero Exeter plan redundancy

Council retains Exeter City Futures' services despite history of delivery failures and lack of capacity to support defined decarbonisation targets.

Rob Hannaford and Karime Hassan at Exeter City Council's June 2022 strategic scrutiny committee meeting

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Net Zero Exeter accountability under scrutiny

Exeter City Council's response to the climate crisis has so far been characterised by numerous failings. Unfortunately its attitude towards accountability for its actions in this area is also cause for concern.

Greenhouse gas protocol for cities - sources and boundaries of city greenhouse gas emissions (scale)

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter greenhouse gas report disregards hundreds of thousands of tonnes of annual city emissions

Restricted scope of study misrepresents scale of city's impact to produce partial decarbonisation targets while ignoring opportunities to reduce emissions imported by residents, businesses and visitors, guaranteeing net zero failure.

SATURDAY 30 JULY 2022

Sidwella day celebration

Devon Voice Group is co-hosting a celebration of Exeter's patron saint, the city's heritage and Devonian culture and dialect.

ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE

https://unsplash.com/photos/-QmNbzMrj1M

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Race in pole position

Exeter Labour looks set to pick Steve Race as the party’s parliamentary candidate at the next general election after retiring incumbent Ben Bradshaw anointed his former assistant as his heir apparent in what has been a fairly safe Labour seat since the 1997 landslide.

SATURDAY 30 JULY 2022

Phonic Fest 2022

Exeter Phoenix is hosting a day of live music from local artists plus DJs to raise money for Phonic FM, Exeter's community radio station.

EXETER PHOENIX

SATURDAY 9 JULY 2022

Kidical Mass returns to Exeter in July

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its second family bike ride and picnic as part of an ongoing global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

BELMONT PARK

Exeter Digest #14: Exeter beset - Alphington impacts - Magdalen Road - Community involvement?

Our essential newsletter also covers continuing Exeter Development Fund scrutiny, missing meetings minutes from Exeter City Futures and Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, Liveable Exeter confusion and local design code reforms.

Exeter 2020 net internal migration by age group bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter beset by unaffordable housing, low graduate retention and economically inactive over 50's

Exeter City Council executive ignores key challenges flagged in major council-commissioned employment and skills research report.

https://unsplash.com/photos/eHD8Y1Znfpk

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Bundling boards

The third in a series of city council scrutiny meetings intended to satisfy councillors that Exeter Development Fund is a way to put Exeter on the map rather than the council’s financial viability at risk took place last week.

Church Road traffic congestions

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Alphington 'enhancements' will not mitigate traffic impact from massive South West Exeter extension

County council manipulates public consultation and allocates just 1% of £55 million grant to pedestrian scheme while spending 75% on new roads and increased road capacity for 3,500 new cars expected on greenfield housing estate.

MONDAY 27 JUNE 2022

PRISM Exeter Pride month queer science celebration

Devon network champions LGBTQIA+ STEMM contributors and the impact they have had on young people in queer science competition.

UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

https://unsplash.com/photos/x5icsOgc7Lw

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Irrationale by design?

The second of two RAMM-hosted Liveable Exeter promotional events, focussed on Exeter’s future as a “garden city”, took place last night with the city council’s Director of City Development, Ian Collinson topping the bill.

Exeter Statement of Community Involvement cover

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council rejects calls for greater community involvement in Exeter planning policy and decisions

Council defends existing approach despite Statement of Community Involvement consultation producing just 17 responses, and won't do more to promote neighbourhood planning despite prospect of enhanced community powers.

Magdalen Road public consultation results option preferences bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

£900,000 to keep Magdalen Road one-way system despite decisive public support for low traffic street

County council misrepresented and omitted key public consultation findings in report and did not publish results until after decision taken in favour of option with only 18% public support. Exeter Observer snapshot survey finds 90%+ motor vehicles passing shops are through traffic.

SUNDAY 5 JUNE 2022

The Big Spork! Poetry Picnic

Spork! is holding an interactive family-friendly indoor poetry and music workshop on picnic blankets.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter Digest #13: Flowerpot Playing Fields under threat - Scrutiny circumvention continues - Kidical Mass rides into town

Our thirteenth newsletter also covers city council spending on Instagram influencers, museum-fronted property development promotion, reports on local democracy and the role of councils in climate action and a government inquiry into the sustainability of local journalism.

https://unsplash.com/photos/uFdCDgnoNVI

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

RAMM-bunctious

The city museum is the latest Exeter institution to get roped into fronting Liveable Exeter property development scheme promotion.

https://unsplash.com/photos/90S8ll64S_o

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

How to inflate housing costs and influence people

Despite Exeter’s rapidly worsening housing crisis, the council has continued its relentless promotion of the city as a destination to potential incomers by commissioning a coterie of Instagram influencers to flog the place to their followers after spending a May weekend here.

https://unsplash.com/photos/MldQeWmF2_g

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Tik tok

The county council-convened Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG) has continued its apparent commitment to avoiding public scrutiny of its decision-making by simultaneously publishing the minutes of six of its meetings (which are held in private without published agendas) at the end of May — despite some being held in March.

Flowerpot Playing Fields

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Will Exeter College fence off Exwick community playing fields?

Exeter College redevelopment plans at Exwick and Flowerpot Playing Fields threaten a three metre fence around publicly-accessible playing fields and their replacement with artificial turf. Will it change course after widespread objections?

Co-ops UK logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer joins Co-ops UK

Network of thousands of UK co-ops provides specialised knowledge and expertise to support the development of individual co-ops and to grow the co-operative economy with the aim of creating a more just society.

TUESDAY 24 MAY 2022

The Shadow: a Devon for Ukraine fundraiser

Soviet playwright Evgengy Schwartz' poetic and philosophical retelling of a Hans Christian Anderson tale is a subversive fable about choices we make for social and political gain and for love.

MAKETANK

Exeter City Council 2022 annual meeting 17 May 2022

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Labour councillors appointed to all thirteen city council committee chairs at annual meeting

Council leader falsely claims 'overwhelming majority' voted Labour in Exeter local elections while circumvention of council decision-making scrutiny continues.

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Kidical Mass Exeter: 'The best day ever'

300 people took part in the first Kidical Mass Exeter family bike ride on Sunday 15 May as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

SUNDAY 24 JULY 2022

Cast A Sheep's Eye: 16th and 17th century love songs

Joe Levy and Konstantinos Terzakis perform Renaissance and Baroque music by Purcell, Dowland, Morley and others in a series of concerts in historic buildings.

ST LAWRENCE CHAPEL

SUNDAY 26 JUNE 2022

Sound Walks with Emma Welton

Musician and sound artist Emma Welton is leading a series of Sunday afternoon sound walks as part of Exeter Dream Festival.

CYGNET THEATRE

SATURDAY 21 MAY 2022

Marsyas Quartet: Dreaming in Sound

Marsyas Quartet plays music by Mozart, Bach, Andrew M. Wilson, Judith Weir and Sungji Hong as part of The New Season Series and Exeter Dream Festival.

ST NICHOLAS PRIORY

SUNDAY 15 MAY 2022

Kidical Mass comes to Exeter

Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its first family bike ride and picnic as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

BELMONT PARK

Exeter City Council party seat distribution after 2022 local elections

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Greens take three seats from Labour so Progressive Group replaces Conservatives as official opposition

Conservative loss in Topsham among significant vote share changes in 2022 Exeter City Council elections suggesting city's political landscape in flux.

Exeter Digest #12: Local elections special

Our twelfth newsletter also covers Devon Carbon Plan procrastination, hot air on the buses, county council transport insights and the continuing Exeter Development Fund scrutiny saga.

2022-23 band D council tax charges ranges (England)

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Coda: Council tax

The last part of our 2022 local elections series is a coda examining Exeter Labour's claim that the city has one of the lowest rates of council tax in the country.

2022 Exeter local elections guide graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2022 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 5 May. Our essential guide highlights who's standing where, wards to watch and what the results might look like and mean. We also outline their context and explain when, where and how to vote.

Climate delay discourse typology

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part III: Climate & environment

The third in our 2022 local elections series examines Exeter Labour claims about climate crisis leadership, renewable energy, recycling, retrofitting and development standards as well as decisions to scrap council and city decarbonisation goals.

https://unsplash.com/photos/IXD9A2CUi2k

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Brownfield or green?

At yesterday’s second scrutiny meeting in the series being orchestrated by the city council to air Exeter City Futures’ ideas about using Exeter as an urban guinea pig for its development fund project it was Frazer Osment’s turn to play the ringer.

Exeter city councillors with low attendance levels during 2021-22 - stacked bar graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Low attendance levels among some councillors mean Exeter electors get varying value for their votes

As part of our 2022 Exeter local elections coverage we have assessed the past year's attendance figures for public council meetings as a measure of councillor commitment to their constituents.

Shops to let on Exeter High Street

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part II: Economy & city centre

The second in our 2022 local elections series examines Exeter Labour claims about the city centre and Exeter's wider economy, including its misrepresentation of content marketing materials as authoritative sources of information about the city.

SATURDAY 11-SUNDAY 12 JUNE 2022

Exeter Respect Festival 2022

Exeter Respect Festival returns to Belmont Park for its 25th anniversary with live music and performance, food stalls, campaigners and community groups.

BELMONT PARK

, updated

Exeter Labour manifesto for Exeter City Council 2022 elections - front cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part I: Exeter's housing crisis

The first instalment in our 2022 local elections coverage examines Exeter Labour claims related to the housing crisis overtaking the city.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Nnn2Dc6niVU

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Leaderless by design?

The county council’s plan to delay taking action on decarbonisation, otherwise known as the Devon Carbon Plan, continues to achieve its aim as (bear with us) the county council cabinet responds to its consultation on its response to the Devon Climate Assembly’s responses to the subset of Interim Devon Carbon Plan issues it has successfully avoided confronting.

https://unsplash.com/photos/R7nSPG8edVI

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

More talk less action

The county council has derived more surprising new insights from the second phase of a consultation on the impact of traffic in Heavitree and Whipton.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Kg_B2LMPTLs

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Buses stop

Exeter’s Labour county councillors successfully lobbied County Hall to convene an unscheduled meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HaTOC) yesterday to discuss the state of bus services in the city.

SATURDAY 14 MAY 2022

Exeter Pride 2022

Exeter Pride returns for an in-person celebration of LGBTQIA+ diversity and visibility after moving online in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan cover edit

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Council abandons city 2030 decarbonisation 'ambition'

Unannounced decision to exclude scope 3 emissions constituting around 43% of Exeter's carbon footprint from 'net zero' plans effectively ensures city will not meet its decarbonisation goals.

SUNDAY 8 MAY 2022

Fore Street Flea

Fore Street Flea market returns for an Exeter Pride-themed special event.

FORE STREET

TUESDAY 19-SATURDAY 23 APRIL 2022

Turn Up The Volume at Green Phoenix

A week of climate crisis-focussed concerts, talks and training orchestrated by Music Declares Emergency with Climate EQ, A Quiet Night In and Music is Murder.

EXETER PHOENIX

FRIDAY 22 APRIL 2022

A Quiet Night In

The ensemble's thirteenth exploration of the creative possibilities of quiet contemporary music in quiet spaces will take place on Earth Day as part of a week of climate change awareness events.

EXETER PHOENIX

Exeter Digest #11: Council decisions under scrutiny - Ukrainian refugee hub - Student HMOs taking over

Our eleventh newsletter also covers the city council's Devon climate assembly response, £144k Levelling Up delivery jobs and Exeter Development Fund scrutiny.

WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL 2022

Climate Science and Creativity

Quay Words' spring writer-in-residence Ellen Wiles hosts a discussion between Devon writers and scientists about the ways they address the climate crisis in their work.

EXETER CUSTOM HOUSE

Exeter Live Better sugarloaf cable car

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council reveals plan for 'Pods in Exeter's Sky' to beat city congestion

Exeter City Futures proposal connects key city sites with a network of Alpine-style cable cars as an alternative to traffic improvement measures.

https://unsplash.com/photos/tSEiF1ZWUTo

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

It's scrutiny Jim, but not as it should be

The city council kicked off a quartet of scrutiny meetings intended to pave the way for councillors to give Exeter Development Fund a green light with a session last night that resembled a sales pitch.

SUNDAY 8 MAY 2022

Traditional Italian music and dance

Exeter Italian Cultural Association is holding a workshop exploring the folk traditions of Southern Italy in music, dance and song with Trikkeballakke and La Tarantella.

ST JAMES' CHURCH

Vaughan Road Exeter City Living development site

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Why does Exeter City Council evade public scrutiny of Exeter City Living property development decisions?

Significant decisions concerning the council-owned company are being taken in secret despite transparency legislation and assurances when it was created, with governance and scrutiny arrangements also potentially putting the council at risk.

Exeter student house in multiple occupation

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council consultants confirm 58% of Exeter's university students live in city's residential housing stock

2021-22 university figures suggest there are now more than 4,500 student HMOs in the city, consistent with ONS findings, with number set to surpass Exeter's council housing provision.

https://unsplash.com/photos/V29UWcALNko

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Nice work if you can get it

Any Exeter-based readers who fancy £144,000 a year to help the government deliver its “Levelling Up” agenda (still only a white paper) in the South West need look no further.

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Futures secondment decision may be unlawful

Backbench city councillors denied scrutiny call-in powers to challenge controversial decision to send chief executive and senior director to work for private company.

Exeter Ukrainian refugee support hub Conversation Café

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Ukrainian refugee support hub opens in Exeter city centre

Conversation Café pop-up offers information, resources, events and meeting space to help cut through the confusion surrounding the Homes for Ukraine scheme and enable Devon's response to the crisis.

Guildhall shopping centre sale brochure cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£55 million Guildhall shopping centre decision may breach local government transparency rules

Exeter City Council decision to purchase and redevelop shopping centre may be unlawful, ineffective and subject to judicial review, increasing already significant commercial investment risks.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Xq0goxN9F3w

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

We heart climate crisis

Anyone who might have been tempted to believe that the climate crisis is at the heart of everything Exeter City Council does (as it repeatedly claims) need look no further than its response to the consultation on the Devon climate assembly’s output report for clarification.

Exeter Digest #10: Exeter City Futures secondments - Overseas property ownership - Net Zero Exeter plan found wanting

Our tenth newsletter also covers urban sprawl on Exeter's periphery, boundary commission hearings, Devon devolution dealings and the Levelling Up white paper.

Karime Hassan, Phil Bialyk, Tony Rowe and Paul Thomas at Sandy Park hotel development site

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Decision to send council CEO and director to work for Exeter City Futures is 'disservice to citizens'

City council disregards governance, risk and conflict of interest issues despite cross-party challenges and conflates decarbonisation agenda with property development financing scheme.

https://unsplash.com/photos/T2Ez2gGsqMo

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

In other urban sprawl news

A development of up to 80 residential dwellings on a ten acre greenfield site alongside Exwick Lane has been given the go ahead at appeal.

Individual overseas ownership of Exeter property titles 2010 to 2021 bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Individual overseas ownership of Exeter property triples in ten years

350% rise greater than in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, increasing housing costs, reducing home ownership levels and harming housing affordability.

Devon council climate action plan Climate Emergency UK scorecard scores bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter decarbonisation plans found wanting in nationwide council climate action plan study

Somerset West and Taunton highest scoring local authority area with East Devon in third place nationally in comprehensive Climate Emergency UK analysis.

https://unsplash.com/photos/ljoCgjs63SM

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Not such an honourable mention

Cranbrook’s appearance in a recent Transport for New Homes report examining new housing developments across England to find out whether they are built around sustainable transport or car dependency does not exactly celebrate the satellite town’s mobility provision.

https://unsplash.com/photos/PC91Jm1DlWA

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Has the county council learned its lesson?

Judging by the “ample space” for greenfield business park and housing development promoted in the “Clean Growth Vision for the West of East Devon” it commissioned from City Science Corporation (an Exeter City Futures sister company) for submission to the East Devon Local Plan consultation, it seems not.

Exeter Digest #9: Pennsylvania petitioners - Devon Pension Fund - University social mobility - Harlequins fate sealed

Our ninth newsletter is a bumper edition providing plenty of independent public interest journalism to keep you company on long midwinter evenings.

Pennsylvania housing stock in Sylvan Road, Exeter

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Pennsylvania petitioners expose fifteen years of flawed student accommodation policy-making

City council policies based on faulty premises, inaccurate information and miscalculated projections have failed to prevent mass student occupation of Exeter residential housing stock despite the proliferation of Purpose Built Student Accommodation across the city.

https://unsplash.com/photos/nE2HV5AUXFo

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Devolution doublespeak

Devon is apparently at the front of the pack for a Michael Gove-flavoured “double” devolution deal despite a competing bid led by Plymouth City Council (which wants to combine with the adjacent West Devon and South Hams district councils), next to no guidance on what is on offer from Whitehall, and even less public discussion about the prospect of local government changes across the county.

https://unsplash.com/photos/tn57JI3CewI

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Democracy inaction

Meanwhile the poor record of the county council-led Devon Climate Emergency Response Group on keeping the public informed about what it is up to reached a new low this month, when it simultaneously published the minutes of ten meetings on the same day, some from as long ago as August.

https://unsplash.com/photos/MQ6KtSsfgIc

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Must try harder

The university recently let us know that its carbon emissions were down 19% during the 2020-21 academic year, although as the reductions came mostly from travel that didn’t take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic we look forward to seeing how it will frame what will presumably therefore be an emissions increase next year.

https://unsplash.com/photos/OyCl7Y4y0Bk

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Keep it in the family

Earlier this year the University of Exeter drew attention to the South West’s significant social mobility issues, which it described as “blighting young lives”, when it launched a research project hoping to better understand the region’s challenges.

Protestors hold Devon County Council stop funding fossil fuel companies banner in Bedford Square

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

County council doubles down on pension fund divestment position

Devon Pension Fund remains committed to fossil fuel investment despite increasingly untenable pension fund committee position that relies on unfounded shareholder influence claims and failure to understand sector position and plans.

Universities social mobility scatter chart showing University of Exeter ranking

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter ranked bottom of Russell Group and 103rd overall in social mobility league table

Landmark study by Institute for Fiscal Studies, Sutton Trust and Department for Education finds University of Exeter undergraduates are less likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those that do are less likely to be high earners.

Reclaim the Night march on Exeter High Street

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

500 march in Reclaim the Night protest against sexual violence and harassment on Exeter streets

Annual event promoting public awareness of male violence against women and girls in public spaces coincides with international human rights campaigns.

Black-tailed godwits in Exe Estuary

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exe Estuary wildlife refuges succeed in increasing bird numbers

Three year monitoring study confirms introduction of protected spaces has resulted in greater numbers of wildfowl using internationally important Dawlish Warren and Exmouth sites.

St Thomas Community Garden volunteers

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

First St Thomas winter market brings festival feel to 'overlooked' area of Exeter

A community-run event at St Thomas Church combines artisan traders with music, storytelling and craft workshops to create a family-friendly festival atmosphere.

https://unsplash.com/photos/OApHds2yEGQ

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Money for nothing

The Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) closed its consultation on draft changes to the Prudential Code last month, following a preliminary consultation earlier this year. The code governs how much councils can borrow to invest and what forms of commercial activity they are permitted to pursue.

Harlequins revised redevelopment scheme - block two model view Paul Street elevation

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter City Council approves second Harlequins 'co-living' block, sealing fate of Paul Street

Previously rejected vision will now form basis of 'abysmal' and 'poorly thought through' Liveable Exeter development of 383 'units of accommodation' with increased proportion of substandard studios but reduced economic value to city.

https://unsplash.com/photos/FSpOrEqFND4

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Net Zero Exeter 2030?

Research by University of Exeter students has concluded that local councils need to provide clearer and more accessible information on how they are addressing the climate emergency.

Exeter Digest #8: Exeter carbon budget - Electric vehicles are not the answer - COP-EXE climate showcase - Bus shelter subvertising

In our eighth newsletter, a COP26 special, we review recent climate and environment stories, take a tour through some local winners and losers and present our pick of recent locally-focussed decarbonisation policy analysis.

Extinction Rebellion Exeter activists fly flag outside COP26 Exeter event at Maketank with COP26 Exeter photography project in window

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

COP-EXE event showcases local responses to global climate crisis

Exeter city centre venues host exhibitions promoting local action to mitigate the climate crisis in tandem with the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

https://unsplash.com/photos/rrTRZdCu7No

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Public sector pay pals?

Instead of announcing the biggest council funding rise for over a decade, Exeter City Council’s press team marked budget day by celebrating Exeter’s latest quarterly YouGov popularity rating. The Paris Street PR machine forgot to mention that those surveyed need never have visited the city.

Cargo bike carrying kids in Exeter

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

If you think electric vehicles are the answer, you're asking the wrong question

Mike Walton of Exeter Cycling Campaign says we shouldn't be seduced by the motoring lobby into believing that electric cars can create the future we and our children need.

Exeter City Council climate credentials claim in St Sidwells Point development hoarding

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Greens call for evidence-based Exeter carbon budget as city council clings to net zero rhetoric

The Net Zero Exeter plan lacks baseline emissions figures, recognised scope definitions and measurement and reporting frameworks, placing the city's decarbonisation agenda at risk. The opportunity for Exeter to demonstrate genuine climate crisis leadership nevertheless remains.

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter activists criticise corporate climate crisis claims with city centre bus shelter subvertising

As the 2021 United Nations climate change conference (COP26) begins in Glasgow, activists post parody bus shelter adverts aimed at corporate greenwashing in Exeter city centre.

RMT campaign sticker on Exeter bus shelter

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Stagecoach strike to take place following failed pay negotiations

Transport union RMT says Stagecoach pay offer is unsatisfactory and demands better conditions as staff shortages threaten services.

Exeter Digest #7: CityPoint pop-ups reprieve - When is a PBSA not a PBSA? - Greta tells it like it is

In our seventh newsletter we review recent key stories, round up the news in brief and highlight think tank ideas for 'community-powered conservatism' and how to deliver for real housing need.

Independent local business on Paris Street, Exeter

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Prospects improve for pop-up Paris Street and Sidwell Street tenants wanting to stay on development site

Council leader Phil Bialyk says it will be 'some years' before planned CityPoint redevelopment affects repurposed retail units, and that council 'would want' to accommodate artistic and cultural initiatives and independent local businesses 'should they wish to remain'.

Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish parliament building in August 2018

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Greta Thunberg calls on world leaders for honesty at COP26

An interview with climate activist Greta Thunberg on the eve of the COP26 summit published in partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global media collaboration.

https://unsplash.com/photos/YiXsjwJKXmo

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

May the force be with UNESCO

Torbay and Exeter’s joint UK city of culture bid, said to be inspired by the “closely connected coastal and city destinations” despite Brixham and Exeter being an hour and a half apart by public transport, didn’t make it onto the longlist of eight places which have caught the eye of culture vulture and escapee celebrity Nadine Dorries.

Clifton Hill sports centre

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council plans to scrap affordable housing requirement for Clifton Hill sports centre site redevelopment

Council-owned and financed developer cites unpublished report which values council-owned land for student housing despite council decision ruling out this use.

https://unsplash.com/photos/4fSxGPSLNH4

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Less is more

The University of Exeter published its long-awaited “Strategy 2030” on Monday. It’s a remarkable document, not least because of the Nobel-sized aspirations it expresses.

https://unsplash.com/photos/WNHl-WwdwCs

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Council scraps own 'unachievable' carbon emissions target

In an extraordinary reversal, the city council removed the goal of achieving carbon neutral operations by 2022 from its corporate risk register at an Audit & Governance committee meeting last week.

Exeter borough constituency boundary changes initial proposals map

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Proposed Exeter parliamentary constituency changes pit Priory against Pinhoe

City council responds to boundary commission consultation by proposing Conservative East Devon takes marginal Pinhoe and city keeps Priory Labour stronghold instead.

Exeter Digest #6: Liveable Exeter Place Board double bill - Scrutiny under scrutiny - Catastrophic climate change or cake?

In the sixth edition of our newsletter we review key stories from the past few weeks, get some perspective on our predicament and find some unlikely claims on a local Labour leaflet.

Liveable Exeter Place Board agenda October 2020 redacted

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

City council outsourcing Exeter local government to unaccountable Liveable Exeter Place Board

An Exeter Observer investigation of Liveable Exeter Place Board has found that it is a de facto decision-making and governance body which exercises public functions with the potential to affect everyone who lives and works in Exeter.

https://unsplash.com/photos/1RsQzyDswqI

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

We're all in it together

Last Friday the UN released a report assessing the combined climate action plans of all 191 parties to the Paris Agreement which found that they point towards a catastrophic 2.7°C temperature rise by the end of the century.

https://unsplash.com/photos/jgOkEjVw-KM

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

It's grim down South West

Recent synthesis of economic data by Devon County Council doesn’t make for very cheerful reading.

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter climate campaigners protest at £157 million Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment

Fridays for Future Exeter led a march through the city to County Hall where demonstrators called on Devon County Council to divest the local public sector pension scheme it manages from fossil fuels.

Exeter city centre from Exeter Cathedral roof

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Freedom of information requests reveal Liveable Exeter Place Board 'chumocracy' overseeing the city

Despite the significance of Liveable Exeter Place Board's role in determining the city's future, its members are selected and appointed on a secretive, informal basis.

https://unsplash.com/photos/nXhJ4v_GphQ

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Sound familiar?

A Centre for Governance and Scrutiny report into Nottingham City Council’s “superficial and inadequate” scrutiny mechanisms has been published.

Peninsula Transport vision document cover image

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

30 year plan for SW transport outlined in consultation document

Strategic vision places investment in roads ahead of decarbonisation despite acknowledging the region's high car dependency rate.

Job Centre Plus entrance

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter workers to be among hardest hit by £20 cut in universal credit

Analysis shows proportion of benefit claimants in Exeter in work is among highest in country.

Bar chart showing 2020 pollution incidents per 10,000km2 for the nine privatised water companies in England

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

South West Water misses pollution targets for tenth year running

Environment Agency says regional company's performance 'drags down the whole sector's reputation' as report places it at bottom of annual assessment league table while company pays out millions in shareholder dividends.

Exeter Digest #5: Second Harlequins 'co-living' block? - Arts centre opens despite CityPoint threat - City of Culture bid - Parliamentary boundary review

In the fifth edition of our newsletter we review key stories from the past few weeks and announce the return of our community journalism training courses and workshops.

https://unsplash.com/photos/YHTOh2q13Eo

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bonanza on the buses

There was no shortage of hyperbole to accompany last Sunday’s opening of Exeter’s glamorous new bus station.

SATURDAY 31 JULY 2021

St Sid's holds double celebration of community centre's 20th anniversary and Sidwella Day

Local residents are invited to an afternoon of live music, good food, heritage tours and garden discovery trail in honour of Sidwella, Exeter's patron saint.

ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE

Harlequins revised redevelopment scheme illustrative elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Harlequins developer plans to scrap hotel to build second 'co-living' block on shopping centre site

Existing planning approval will be factor in decision to return to earlier, rejected, vision which would mean 378 studios and 'cluster flat' rooms along Paul Street.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Hq3jam0PCys

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Free to those who can afford it

Torbay Council, Torbay Development Agency and Exeter City Council have “joined forces” to bid for 2025 UK City of Culture status, with their eyes on a prize of £300 million in claimed economic benefits.

Positive Light Projects - Sidwell Street entrance

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Positive Light Projects opens community arts centre despite CityPoint redevelopment threat

Parts of Exeter city centre are experiencing an unplanned renaissance as small shops and cultural venues move in to fill empty units on Paris Street and Sidwell Street, but uncertainty remains as the council still plans to demolish and redevelop.

Exeter Digest #4: University and council drop development standards - Exe valley under threat - Kinder Exeter community festival

In the fourth edition of our newsletter we also welcome trainee reporter Jenna McGill to the team and introduce the first Exeter Observer caption competition.

https://unsplash.com/photos/JNwba6cv4e0

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Partnership agreement of the week

In a hotly-contested field, this week’s winner must surely be the new Exeter Civic University Agreement, which found its way onto last night’s city council Executive agenda.

New Haven Field in Exeter's Riverside Valley Park

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

River Exe green spaces and heritage harbour site threatened by 'Liveable Exeter' development scheme

Exeter Civic Society and Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors raise alarm at prospect of Exeter City Council development in river valley park and historic canal basin.

Extinction Rebellion climate activist Imogen May

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Environmental activist Imogen May defiant after second liability order for non-payment of council tax

Extinction Rebellion demonstrated at Exeter Law Courts in support of Crediton lone parent who has withheld council tax for two years in protest over government climate crisis inaction.

Clydesdale, Nash and Birks Grange Village redevelopment illustrative elevations

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University drops environmental standards for huge student flats development with council approval

University of Exeter and Exeter City Council both ignore own policies in plans to demolish 30 buildings and construct 50,000m2 of new student accommodation, telling us more about their priorities than their climate leadership claims.

Kinder Exeter community festival on Cathedral Green

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Kinder Exeter community festival brings compassion and colour to city centre

Week-long event bringing artists, academics, students and communities together for online and outdoor activities was first of planned annual festivals facilitated by Maketank artists' collective.

https://unsplash.com/photos/RAADcZVAUNY

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Longbrook Street PBSA gifted second life

Exeter City Council planning officers have approved the renewal of planning permission for an eight storey 108-bed student accommodation block on the site of the King Billy public house which had previously been granted in April 2018 and since lapsed.

https://unsplash.com/photos/cHR1Q2g1_F4

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

On the beach

The Heart Of The South West Local Enterprise Partnership has confirmed that its bid to house the UK Atomic Energy Authority STEP fusion test reactor in Bridgewater Bay passed the first stage of the competitive site nominations process.

UN Secretary General António Guterres briefs the media

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

António Guterres on the climate crisis: 'We are coming to a point of no return'

An interview with the UN Secretary General on the eve of the G7 summit in Cornwall published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration.

Exeter Digest #3: Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment - SW Exeter district heating network - Exeter local election results

The third edition of our essential newsletter offers something for everyone on sunny bank holiday weekend.

Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel holdings

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment position exposed by Shell and BP AGM votes

Shareholder support for Paris Agreement-compatible goals increases but fails to prevent continuing oil and gas exploration, extraction, production or consumption as experts intensify warnings that emissions reductions goals will be missed.

District heating network diagram

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

South West Exeter district heating network plan abandoned

Property developers refuse to back scheme despite local authorities committing £7.3 million to project to supply 2500 new homes with waste heat from Marsh Barton incinerator, Exeter's largest single source of carbon emissions.

https://unsplash.com/photos/rD2dc_2S3i0

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Marking their own homework

Exeter City Council’s ruling Labour group reallocated the city’s committee seats at its annual meeting last week.

https://unsplash.com/photos/jvKAp8Z7HPg

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Follow the money

Glenn Woodcock and Roli Martin of Global City Futures were invited to join the board which oversees the Devon Carbon Plan at its meeting last month and given the same decision-making powers as the rest of the board, which is almost exclusively composed of public sector organisations.

Exeter City Council 2021 election results ballot share percentage by ward

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Did Exeter's local elections results tell a Labour success story?

Exeter Labour lost just one seat in the city council elections and held all seven of its county hall seats, but on closer inspection its performance was more mixed than these headline results imply.

Net Zero Exeter logo

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is Exeter City Council going to abandon its Net Zero 2030 target?

Review suggests alignment with Devon Carbon Plan, currently aimed at 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050, citing 'technical and financial challenges ahead', although change in policy would require decision by councillors after 6 May local elections.

Exeter Digest #2: Exeter local elections guide - Majority want net zero by 2030 - Council meetings to resume in person

With the local elections a week today and a bank holiday weekend on its way we thought we'd publish our second edition a day early to give you extra time to take your pick of our top stories.

Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Devon Carbon Plan consultation finds majority want net zero by 2030

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group questions whether 2030 'realistic' and suggests 'palatable' compromise while only 13% of consultees support UK government's 2050 target.

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall - Inauguration of Lord Mayor

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

High Court rules council meetings must resume in person after local elections

Case seeking judgement to allow local authority meetings to continue remotely when temporary coronavirus regulations expire fails to override requirement for primary legislation.

Exeter local elections campaign materials

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Do Exeter election leaflets stretch the truth and make promises that don't get delivered?

Help us hold candidates to account across the city by sending in campaign materials so we can factcheck them and test election pledges against what actually happens.

https://unsplash.com/photos/Bv_PMxkprVQ

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

So many questions

Quote of the week must surely go to Exeter City Council leader Phil Bialyk for: “Sorry, chair, I just need to refer to some of my other notes, if you’ll just bear with me”.

Electoral Commission ballot box graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2021 Exeter local elections guide

Elections for Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner are taking place in Exeter on 6 May. Our essential election guide highlights wards and divisions to watch, changes taking place and how, when and where to vote.

Met Office graph showing 2020 global mean temperature difference from 1850-1900

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

World Meteorological Organization report confirms 'relentless' intensification of climate crisis despite pandemic lockdowns

2020 set to be equal warmest year on record despite cooling La Niña while Internal Energy Agency warns post-pandemic economic stimulus expected to drive second largest annual increase in carbon emissions in history and UK emissions set to overshoot 2030 target by 40%.

The Exeter Digest - Exeter Observer's essential free email newsletter

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer publishes The Exeter Digest #1

In the first edition of our new email newsletter we introduced our format and brought subscribers up to date with our coverage over the past couple of months.

Exeter Digest #1: Statistics in the balance - Dartmoor Line to reopen - Local elections are coming

In this first edition of Exeter Observer's email newsletter we introduce our format and bring you up to date with our coverage over the past couple of months.

Covering Climate Now logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer joins Covering Climate Now partnership

Initiative of more than 460 media organisations around the globe aims to increase circulation of climate coverage by uniting the global press around reporting the climate crisis.

https://unsplash.com/photos/6sl88x150Xs

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Mount Radford Lawn tribunal decision

The St Leonard’s Neighbourhood Association vision for Mount Radford Lawn has taken an important step towards becoming a reality.

Claire Wright

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Independent county councillor Claire Wright stands down

First elected to Ottery St Mary Town Council in 2009, the parliamentary candidate for East Devon in 2015 and 2017 also served on East Devon District Council for four years and Devon County Council for eight years.

Exeter the musical promo poster

NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Council announces plan to produce 'Exeter the Musical' at city's Corn Exchange

Exeter City Council has announced a plan to produce a musical theatre extravaganza billed as 'an ambitious celebration of a better life in the world's most world-class city' as part of its UNESCO City of Literature celebrations.

https://unsplash.com/photos/7ezVb0oTQ6M

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Buzzword bingo!

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has published its contribution to the increasingly popular genre of “Build Back Better” plans.

https://unsplash.com/photos/nAizdTpHUTM

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

No Exeter Pride parade this year

Exeter Pride has confirmed that there would be no Pride march, festival or marketplace this year.

Centre for Cities Exeter City Monitor graphic

COMMENT  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Selective use of statistics presents an unbalanced account of Exeter's economic & environmental status

Exeter City Council's Chief Executive uses statistics to show the city in a good light, but in doing so presents a picture which omits important information about the city's true position.

Empty retail units at The Depot Purpose Built Student Accommodation block on Cheeke Street in Exeter

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developer plans to convert retail units in Exeter city centre block to additional student bedrooms

Conversion of five of eleven shop/leisure units at The Depot in Cheeke Street would add nineteen rooms to existing 715 bedrooms in monolithic PBSA.

Train at Okehampton Station in 2015

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Okehampton to Exeter 'Dartmoor Line' passenger rail service reinstatement confirmed

£40 million Department for Transport 'Restoring your Railway' funding to enable trains every two hours by end of this year, with plans to increase to hourly service during 2022. Stakeholders combine to get South West infrastructure needs onto Whitehall agenda.

Atmospheric rise in carbon dioxide from the industrial revolution to the present

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Atmospheric concentration of CO2 now 50% above pre-industrial levels

Met Office says 2021 will be first year on record in which symbolic threshold breached for more than a few days as UK prepares to host COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Maclaines Warehouses beside Exeter ship canal

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Maclaines Warehouses development tests Exeter Heritage Harbour status

Decisions taken behind closed doors in favour of commercial interests threaten maritime and waterway heritage vision for Exeter's historic quay and canal basin.

Exeter Guildhall needs repairs

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£37.5 million council maintenance backlog caused by underinvestment to be part-funded by asset sales

Exeter City Council has allowed property assets to deteriorate while prioritising new schemes including the £44 million St Sidwell's Point leisure centre, forcing it to identify assets for sale to pay its outstanding repair bills.

Exeter Princesshay Debenhams closing down sale

NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Top floor of former Debenhams store to be converted into cinema

Princesshay owner's proposals for change of use to four screen cinema and cafe/bar have been under discussion since November 2019.

Independent councillor Jemima Moore campaigns in Newtown during the 2019 Exeter local elections

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Door to door campaigning for May local elections to go ahead after all

Government announces relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on election canvassing from next Monday 8 March in step with planned lockdown rule changes.

Exeter City Council offices on Paris Street

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Council pushes back on Liveable Exeter Place Board scrutiny following membership change

Exeter City Council has responded to an enquiry about disproportionate Church of England representation on the Liveable Exeter Place Board by accusing Exeter Observer of promoting a 'partisan narrative' and claiming our public interest reporting 'bears no resemblance to fact'.

Devon County Council local authority pension fund fossil fuel investment bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Report places Devon County Council among UK's top local authority fossil fuel investors

£157 million of Devon Local Government Pension Scheme is invested in companies including Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP, Anglo American and ExxonMobil despite local authority climate emergency declarations and carbon reduction commitments.

Exeter polling station

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

May local elections to go ahead despite COVID-19 challenges

Ban on doorstep canvassing and door to door leaflet distribution likely to favour the two major parties on 6 May as postal and proxy voting encouraged in Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Illustration showing how the new building will look when completed

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter Science Park STEMM 'grow-out building' construction begins

A new specialist centre for fast-growth Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths & Medicine businesses will be completed by November 2021.

Exeter energy recovery facility

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

District heating network planned for new South West Exeter development

Local councils are investing up to £7.3 million in a £23 million project to supply a development of 2500 homes with heat which depends on the Marsh Barton waste incinerator, Exeter's largest single source of carbon emissions.

Climate change mitigation challenges infographic

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

University research consortium launches 'Accelerate to Net Zero' project

The GW4 Alliance of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities has launched a collaborative project aimed at accelerating decarbonisation across South West England and Wales.

Clydesdale and Birks development illustrative view

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University plans to demolish 30 buildings to construct ~50,000m2 of new student accommodation

Permission sought for 1,250 new bedrooms on fifteen acre Streatham campus Clydesdale and Birks development site, half as large again as 1,200 bedroom East Park development.

Longbrook Street student accommodation development site King Billy public house

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Renewed permission sought for Longbrook Street student block

Developers are seeking to renew previously-granted planning permission for an eight storey 108-bed student accommodation block on the site of the King Billy public house.

Harlequins shopping centre

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

First Liveable Exeter homes are substandard 'warehousing for people' which is student accommodation 'in all but name'

Harlequins shopping centre redevelopment approved by Exeter City Council includes 251 co-living units in seven storey tower block despite widespread opposition from conservation charities and community campaigners who have since appealed to the Secretary of State to call in the decision.

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Wonford NHS Trust parking sign

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Hospital creates parking for 200 cars despite city climate crisis goals

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital says new parking 'temporary' but no end-date given in planning application and no hard evidence of need provided.

St Sidwell's Point development site outline aerial view

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council executive members take direct control of city planning decisions

Council's executive now possesses majority on city planning committee, with council leader and planning portfolio holder also included despite national guidance, offering basis to challenge decisions and increasing democratic deficit.

Pedestrians and people waiting at bus stop on Exeter Cowick Street

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre

Devon County Council cites 'pushback' from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after 'snap poll'.

Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan proposals vs Exeter territorial emissions vs Exeter carbon footprint bar chart

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is the 'Net Zero' Exeter plan fit for purpose?

Exeter City Futures' carbon reduction plan ignores over a million tonnes of carbon emissions and massively underestimates the challenges facing the city.

Food retailers at Queen Street Dining in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Unelected Liveable Exeter Place Board created to oversee city from the shadows

Exeter City Council has convened an unelected board that meets in private, does not publish its discussions or decisions and is taking responsibility for major policies which will determine Exeter's future.

Great Western Hotel beside Exeter St David's railway station

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Exeter rough sleepers in COVID-19 emergency accommodation face uncertain future

Exeter City Council has yet to confirm whether it will use any of the £2.15m Rough Sleeping Initiative funding it has received since 2018 to keep housing rough sleepers when government emergency accommodation funding runs out.

Exeter City Futures Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Council accepts climate emergency plan to make city carbon neutral by 2030

Chief Executive warns that resourcing the plan is 'problematic' given COVID-19 financial challenges and that lack of resources limits the council's capacity for immediate practical action.

Cyclists, pedestrians and cars compete for space on Union Road, Exeter, 1 June 2020

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Devon County Council fails to deliver promised COVID-19 cycling and walking infrastructure

Deadline for action on social distancing for safe travel set by county cabinet member passes despite Devon receiving £1.7 million share of government emergency fund.

Department for Transport New Road Layout for Social Distancing coronavirus road sign

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans

Devon County Council's failure to deliver overdue Exeter transport strategy and cycling and walking plan has led to an inadequate response to government demands for emergency coronavirus road layout changes.

Exeter Cathedral and Quay car park top deck

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Coronavirus halts decision to spend £3.9 million on car park repairs and upgrade

Exeter City Council spending plans will be revisited in June at same time as Net Zero Exeter carbon reduction plan is discussed by Executive.

Pulling Road Pinhoe Exeter zero carbon housing development site plan

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter's first 'zero carbon' housing development includes 96 car parking spaces for 40 homes

Exeter City Council has approved plans to develop land at Pinhoe with a parking ratio of 2.4 cars per household as part of an 'exemplar scheme for future residential development in the city' while accepting that zero carbon construction comes 'at a cost to the provision of affordable housing'.

Night shelter for homeless and rough sleepers in Magdalen Street, Exeter (front)

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Exeter rough sleepers night shelter to open all year round

Exeter City Council has approved plans to extend Magdalen Street night shelter opening from April to the end of September.

Cranbrook town centre development site empty plots

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Cranbrook town centre community building application submitted

Devon County Council is to develop new town centre facilities including a children's centre with public health nursing provision, youth centre with indoor and outdoor recreational spaces and library with small café.

Exeter Princesshay deserted under COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council announces £1.584m April budget shortfall caused by COVID-19 restrictions

Council revenues have fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a £6.357 million capital spending deferment. But financial support from government has so far been limited.

Small retail businesses on Paris Street, Exeter

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Half of COVID-19 support grants unclaimed by Exeter businesses

Exeter City Council in bottom third of local authorities as only 45% of eligible local businesses claim government coronavirus support money.

Exeter Observer logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

An open letter to all members of the Exeter Observer team

The situation is changing quickly. The electoral commission have proposed the cancellation of the May local elections, several universities are moving to online-only teaching and it seems likely that there will be a wave of event cancellation announcements early next week.

Exeter University & College Union strike third week rally at St David's Church - Billy Bragg concert

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter strike ends third week with rally and concert at St David's Church

The Exeter branch of the University & College Union (UCU) is taking part in four weeks of national industrial action over pensions, equal pay for female and BAME staff, increasing workloads and the use of casual employment contracts.

Exeter City Futures Blueprint for a Carbon Neutral Exeter by 2030 graphic

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is Exeter finally responding to the climate emergency?

A surge of activity about action to combat climate change is taking place in Exeter, including the publication of a carbon neutral blueprint pending a 'mobilisation summit', but detail and evidence is still missing and community engagement is falling short of debate.

Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate banners on South Street

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter climate strike anniversary march brings junction to standstill

Protestors form human chain around County Hall to highlight Devon County Council's role as key regional climate policy decision-maker after Exeter City Council confiscates banners promoting carbon neutral blueprint policies.

Sally Ride, America's first woman astronaut communicates with ground controllers from the flight deck

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter PRISM network champions queer STEMM pioneers

Exeter students celebrated the lives of polar explorer and botanist Elke Mackenzie, inventor, engineer and futurist Nikola Tesla and astronaut and children's author Sally Ride in winning LGBT+ network competition entries.

Exeter Observer logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Free two day news writing seminar on 14 & 21 March

Want to help hold wealth, power and influence to account in Exeter & East Devon? Get involved in a new independent public interest journalism project!

Exeter Paris Street construction site on which Roman remains were found

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Echoes of Exeter's Roman past reveal risks to city's future vision

The unexpected discovery of Roman remains on Exeter's bus station redevelopment site suggests significant risks may also exist for the adjacent CityPoint regeneration scheme.

Jubilee Beauty - Exeter Central library chidren's area rocking horse

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Exeter library children's horse to keep on rocking!

A crowdfunding appeal has successfully raised £1000 to repair Exeter Central library's popular rocking horse, Jubilee Beauty.

Exeter Observer logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Next community journalism course begins 22 February 2020

Want to help hold wealth, power and influence to account in Exeter & East Devon? Get involved in a new independent public interest journalism project!

Exeter net zero carbon housing pilot project in Chestnut Avenue in Wonford

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter net zero housing revolution takes root in Chestnut Avenue

Exeter City Council is taking exploratory steps from talking about a zero carbon future to delivering one with a pilot housing project in Wonford.

Exeter City Council accounts delayed by auditors Grant Thornton

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter & East Devon council accounts delayed by Grant Thornton's 'lack of staff resources'

Annual accounts for local government, including Exeter City Council, have been delayed by private sector firms failing to complete their work on time after cost-cutting government auditing reforms.

Independent Community News Network logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer joins Independent Community News Network

Exeter Observer's application to join the ICNN has been successful, connecting us to a network of more than a hundred similar projects across the UK.

Exeter Observer logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Free introductory community journalism courses start 11 January 2020

Want to help hold wealth, power and influence to account in Exeter & East Devon? Get involved in a new independent public interest journalism project!

2019 parliamentary elections - Devon Conservative vote share change bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Conservative vote share varies across Devon but still blocks an Independent MP in East Devon

Labour loses vote share in every constituency, but retains Exeter and Plymouth Sutton & Devonport to leave the county position unchanged from 2017.

Exeter election polling station

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Conservatives hold Topsham in Exeter city council by-election

A by-election held on general election day produced an unusually high turnout but a lower Conservative vote share than at the May local elections.

BBC Local News Partnerships logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer joins BBC Local News Partnerships

Exeter Observer's application to join the BBC Local News Partnerships has been successful, granting access to the BBC News Hub and Shared Data Unit and the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

East Devon Independent Claire Wright 2019 general election candidate

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

East Devon Independent Claire Wright set to unite Remain voters in close historic two-way contest

Claire Wright is poised to make history by beating the Tories in East Devon next week. If she does it will be without thanks to the LibDems and Greens, who insisted on standing candidates against her despite the preferences of local party members and the Unite to Remain campaign.

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter climate strikers create human chain around County Hall

Fridays for Future Exeter led a march through the city to form a human chain around County Hall in protest at climate change inaction.

Striking University of Exeter history lecturers Dr Jennifer Farrell and Dr Gemma Clark

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

University of Exeter staff strike over pay, pensions and working conditions

The Exeter branch of the University & College Union (UCU) is taking part in a national eight day strike for fair pay and pensions, including equal pay for female and BAME staff, and against casualisation and increasing workloads.

Country Bus G service to Exeter Quay

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

An integrated public transport service for Devon remains a distant aspiration

A change to Exeter's G bus service operator has revealed the limits of Devon County Council's approach to transport system integration.

Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy branding

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Will a new South West industrial strategy deliver what it promises?

Our business-led Local Enterprise Partnership appears committed to a new approach to driving growth which its CEO describes as 'game-changing'.

2019 Devon County Council Heavitree & Whipton Barton by-election Exeter vote share swing bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter Labour support collapses in Heavitree & Whipton Barton county by-election

Greg Sheldon wins Devon County Council division by just 40 votes after Labour loses nearly a fifth of its previous vote share.

Exeter City Council cuts executive decision-making scrutiny

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council cuts scrutiny of executive decision-making

Constitutional changes proposed by Exeter City Council will make it more difficult to hold the ruling political group to account.

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter global climate strike march

Fridays for Future Exeter led 3500 people on a climate crisis demonstration through the city as millions mobilised in 185 countries worldwide.

Exeter Global Climate Strike demonstrator holding placard

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter youth climate strikers launch Green New Deal for Devon

Fridays For Future Exeter have published a detailed vision of a more equitable future that calls on elected representatives across the county to recognise the climate crisis as a symptom of a dysfunctional political economy.

Exeter Global Climate Strike Bedford Street crowd

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Thousands march in Exeter for global climate strike as millions mobilise worldwide

Fridays for Future Exeter led 3500 people on a climate crisis demonstration through the city backed by dozens of organisations on the eve of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

Rhian Keyse speaking at Exeter UCU's anti-casualisation campaign launch

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Education union challenges university to address widespread casualisation of teaching staff

Exeter University & College Union (UCU) launched an anti-casualisation campaign on Friday as a prelude to negotiation with the University of Exeter over academic staff contracts.

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Extinction Rebellion Exeter Wave of Water march

Extinction Rebellion campaigners marched through Exeter city centre led by a samba band and dressed in blue to represent a wave of water, highlighting rising sea levels and the coming global water crisis.

Exeter anti-government protest Devon for Europe speaker

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter protest misses its mark by mixing its messages

One of Exeter's biggest ever street demonstrations combined anti-Brexit and pro-democracy concerns to produce a confused protest against government policy.

Extinction Rebellion Exeter funeral march climate crisis High Street

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Mock funeral march brings Exeter city centre to a sombre standstill

Extinction Rebellion campaigners brought the gravity of the ecological emergency home to Exeter on Saturday in a funereal procession commemorating wildlife loss caused by climate change.

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Extinction Rebellion Exeter Funeral march

Extinction Rebellion campaigners brought Exeter City Centre to a standstill with a funereal procession commemorating wildlife loss caused by climate change.

Exeter City Council public toilet closures Exeter Live Better hoarding

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter could do better - was there no alternative to closing so many public toilets?

Exeter City Council did not need to close thirteen public toilets to balance the books. The money to keep them open was available in reserves, but no mention of this option was made during public decision-making by councillors or officers.

Dutch living streets woonerf sign

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

We already know what to do about the climate crisis. We must get on with doing it as fast as we can.

Exeter and Devon council leaders must begin rapid regional decarbonisation now. The quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions in Exeter is to deter combustion engines from entering the city. Clean air legislation offers a basis for action.

IMPRESS logo

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Exeter Observer agrees regulatory framework with IMPRESS

Exeter Observer is now regulated by IMPRESS, the only Leveson-compliant PRP-recognised independent UK press monitor.

Exeter City Council public toilet closure notice

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Caught short - balancing the books in a hurry

Exeter City Council has unapologetically confirmed its decision to close 13 public toilets as a money-saving measure with full knowledge of its expected effect on residents and visitors. Can we expect other spending cuts to be handled the same way?

Preston Street Union present SERGE/SURGE at Cricklepit Mill

NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Preston Street Union rolls out the red carpet

The Exeter-based artists explore migration driven by the city's historic wool trade in new work commissioned by RAMM.

Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate protestors with banner

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate - the floodgates are open

Exeter is one of the smallest cities in Britain, yet it has produced some of the country's biggest youth strikes. Climate activist Sam Sleeman recounts the story so far and explains what it means to the young people who are creating a global wave of change.

THURSDAY 6 JUNE 2019

Jambassadors feature in pop-up Jazz Toast at Barnfield Theatre

Musical director Roz Harding invites us to join an Exeter College Music Academy student collective in a one-night-only experimental exploration of in-the-moment improvisation.

BARNFIELD THEATRE

SATURDAY 30 MARCH-SUNDAY 2 JUNE 2019

Extreme Imagination - Inside the Mind's Eye

University of Exeter research fellow Dr Matthew MacKisack guides us through a RAMM exhibition that explores works by artists, writers and makers with widely varying visual imaginations.

RAMM

Molly Scott Cato at the European Parliament

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Is EU membership essential to our ability to deal with the climate emergency?

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP for the South West, visited Exeter during her re-election campaign to explain why the EU and its Green Group is leading the way on a wide range of progressive policies.

Front elevations of proposed development at Mount Radford Lawn

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Mount Radford Lawn development proposals conflict with St Leonards community vision

Exeter Deaf Academy hopes to sell a school playing field to developers who plan to build luxury homes. Local residents have other ideas about how best to use the land. A dispute is looming over an historic green space driven by prospective profit from planning gain.

FRIDAY 17-SUNDAY 19 MAY 2019

Playing with gender expectations at Barnfield Theatre

An Exeter College interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream transforms it into an enchanting contemporary gender-adapted tale.

BARNFIELD THEATRE

Rainbow Trail LGBTQIA+ exhibition queers RAMM for Exeter Pride 2019

NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Rainbow Trail LGBTQIA+ exhibition queers RAMM for Exeter Pride 2019

A new collaboration between X-Plore Youth Devon, Exeter College LGBTQ+ society, Natalie McGrath of Dreadnought SW and Dr Jana Funke of the University of Exeter explores gender and sexual diversity across time, place and culture by reimagining objects from the RAMM collections.

Exeter City Council city centre wards map

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter Labour loses local elections in all three city centre wards

Voters in Exeter yesterday elected three new councillors to represent them in the key wards that cover the city centre, with all the city's ruling Exeter Labour group candidates missing out despite the party's confident campaign.

Jemima Moore campaigning in Exeter local elections

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Local resident stands as independent candidate in Exeter elections

Jemima Moore is a 36 year-old part-time primary school teacher and mother of two young children with little political experience. So why has she decided to stand for election to Exeter City Council on 2 May?

Exeter Clifton Hill sports centre

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Clifton Hill sports centre – the background

Storm Emma met the Beast from the East and dumped a huge amount of snow on the roof of Exeter's Clifton Hill sports centre, setting off a chain reaction which has ignited two campaigns and put Exeter City Council's approaches to competence and openness into sharp focus.

Exeter City Council press and public exclusion notice

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

What does your council know that you don't know you don't know?

Extracting information from councils is hard work but increasingly necessary for local democracy.

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan banner

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Is the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan GESPing for air?

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan has been a long time in gestation. When it finally arrives, will it deliver?

Extinction Rebellion climate emergency protesters in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Extinction Rebellion Exeter stages climate emergency protest

Today around 70 people joined the Exeter branch of Extinction Rebellion on the city's streets to demand urgent action to minimise the risk of catastrophic impacts from climate change.

Kaleider Mikrofest Our Dancing Shadows in Exeter Princesshay

NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Out of sight, out of mind

An Exeter performance of From The Light of The Fire, Our Dancing Shadows for Kaleider Mikrofest appears to favour illusion over truth in a confused rendering of Plato's cave allegory that leaves both performers and audience in the dark.

Exeter St James period housing stock

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter St James regeneration

How can the supply of low-cost, incrementally investable city centre accommodation be stimulated to attract and retain creative, technically-skilled young entrepreneurial talent?

Historic Exe Bridge traffic

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Streets are for people, not cars

Cars adversely affect economic output, air quality and wellbeing, take up valuable space when parked and discourage people from walking and cycling when driven. Reducing their use would enhance Exeter's retail and leisure offer, improve public health and attract needed workers to the city.